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Universal Moves Forward With “The Hunt” After Controversy: How the Conservative Rednecks vs. Liberal Elites Movie Is Rebranding Itself

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  • Universal Studios has set a March release date for The Hunt after canceling its Sep. 2019 release.
  • Universal canceled the movie in August following two mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas. 
  • Prior to that, the movie had been condemned by conservatives—including President Donald Trump—for stoking political divisions by featuring a group of conservative “rednecks” being hunted by liberal elites. 
  • Now, Universal is using the drama around the film’s release in its marketing campaign, promoting it as “the most talked about movie of the year… that no one’s actually seen.”

The Hunt Now Slated for March Release

After canceling The Hunt for its timing and controversial premise, Universal Studios announced Tuesday that the movie will be released on March 13. 

The movie, which features a group of liberal elites seemingly hunting conservative “rednecks,” quickly caught the condemnation of President Donald Trump after its first trailer dropped in July.

In the original trailer, a character played by Glow’s Betty Gilpin is seen in a gas station, seemingly confused because she doesn’t know where she is. She’s then attacked by the station’s owners, and she manages to fight back before ultimately killing them.

While such a scene is not taboo by today’s standards, the trailer continues by introducing the elite vs. conservative premise. In one moment, an elite (played by Hilary Swank) says that the people they’re hunting aren’t human.

She also refers to those people as “deplorables,” a reference to a 2016 statement made by Hillary Clinton.

“You know, to just be grossly realistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call a basket of deplorables. Right?” Clinton said while campaigning for the 2016 election. 

Marketing Shifts Gears

While the film was marketed as a form of satire, from the trailer alone, it appeared to be a rather straightforward horror premise. It’s newest trailer, however, adds several comedic touches to drive the satire aspect home. 

It also appears that the movie may not actually be about liberal elites hunting conservatives, as Swank’s character asks in the film, “You actually believed we were hunting human beings for sport?” Rather, the film’s plot seems to be the consequence of an out-of-control prank.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, part of the plot appears to involve a reality TV show gone wrong.

In addition to revealing those plot details, Universal is now using the drama around The Hunt to market the film, with its tagline reading, “The most talked about movie of the year is one that no one’s actually seen.”

Meanwhile, the film’s creators have been largely playing damage control for both sides. 

“This is not a dangerous movie,” Producer and co-writer Damon Lindelof told Variety. “This is not a provocative movie. This is not a divisive movie.”

“[This movie] didn’t strike me as third rail,” Lindelof also told The New York Times. “I wish that [Trump] had seen it. The movie he was talking about was not the movie I feel that we made.”

Also speaking with The Times, Producer Jason Blum said, “Not one frame was changed. This is exactly the same movie.”

Why Did Universal Cancel the Film?

In addition to Trump, The Hunt faced massive backlash online in August, with the movie trending on Twitter and notable voices such as Franklin Graham expressing their concern.

To plant the thought in someone’s mind that it’s okay to shoot a person because they wear a MAGA hat or hold conservative viewpoints that may differ from theirs is reckless & reprehensible,” Graham, the son of televangelist Billy Graham, said. “That’s not satire or entertainment—that’s sowing seeds of discord & violence.” 

Ultimately, the film’s promotional campaign was suspended just days after two mass shootings that left 31 people dead in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. Several days after that Universal pulled the plug on the film altogether. 

While Universal Pictures had already paused the marketing campaign for The Hunt, after thoughtful consideration, the studio has decided to cancel our plans to release the film,” the company said in a statement. “We stand by our filmmakers and will continue to distribute films in partnership with bold and visionary creators, like those associated with this satirical social thriller, but we understand that now is not the right time to release this film.”

At the time, Universal didn’t announce any plans to release the movie at a later date or in another way. 

Following that decision, Swank released a statement saying she supported Universal’s decision and felt the choice was necessary, adding that the country should focus on healing and other things like kindness, sensitivity, and humanity.

What Are People Saying Now?

While Trump has not spoken on the new release plans, many on social media remain divided. 

Universal originally faced accusations of bending to censorship when it decided to shelve the film, but some praised the company for moving forward to ultimately distribute the film.

Others also said the drama around the film and the way Universal is marketing that makes them want to see it.

Others, however, were still upset at the film’s subject matter.

See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (LA Magazine) (Washington Examiner)

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Upcoming “Karen” Movie Slammed as Rip-Off of Jordan Peele’s “Get Out”

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The horror film follows a Black couple that moves into a house next door to a white woman named Karen.


“Karen” Trailer Goes Viral

The viral “Karen” trope is getting the Hollywood treatment, and people on Twitter would like a word with the film industry’s manager. 

“Karen” has become a term used to describe entitled, and often racist, white women who are quick to call the cops or complain about customer service when things don’t go exactly their way. The upcoming movie, called “Karen,” is a horror picture that follows a Black couple that moves into a new house next door to a pearl necklace-wearing and Pinot Grigio-drinking white woman. Any guesses on what her name is?

The film, a BET Original, was written and directed by Coke Daniels and stars Taryn Manning as the titular “Karen.” Cory Hardrict and Jasmine Burke play the couple that’s new in town. The trailer was released on Thursday but started gaining traction online this week.

Throughout the trailer, Manning’s character is seen threatening to call the manager at a restaurant, setting up security cameras that look at her new neighbors’ house, and calling the cops on a group of teenagers while they record her in that now-familiar viral format. 

She also says that Burke’s character is “slaving away in the kitchen” upon entering her home and tells a group of Black people, “you people are very angry.” It also appears that she owns a soap dispenser with the Confederate flag on it. 

In case people watching were unable to put the glaringly obvious puzzle pieces together, a small child eventually says, “She doesn’t like Black people,” in the trailer.  

Because the hammer is perhaps hitting the nail a little too harshly on the head, many wondered if it was even a real movie or some kind of “Saturday Night Live” parody. 

Twitter Compares Film to “Get Out”

Others thought it looked like the film was ripping off Jordan Peele’s hit horror movie “Get Out,” which is about a Black man meeting his white girlfriend’s family.

“Get Out” was praised for using the horror genre to provide nuanced commentary and observations on racism in America. Peele won an Academy Award for the film’s original screenplay, and it was also nominated for Best Picture. “Karen,” on the other hand, is not likely to wind up part of the awards conversation come 2021.

Daniels ended up sharing an article comparing his upcoming project to “Get Out” on his Instagram story, also apologizing for bringing Peele into the online discourse. 

Daniels previously told Deadline that he wrote this film in 2020 as discussions about race relations in the United States were reaching a boiling point. 

“Last year during the global pandemic and civil unrest, I — like many of us — felt anger, despair and hopelessness,” he said. “The overwhelming amount of support from people around the globe, who want to see change, has been such an inspiration.”

“Karen” does not yet have a release date.

See what others are saying: (Esquire) (CNN) (Independent)

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Carl Nassib Becomes First Active NFL Player To Come Out as Gay

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While making his announcement, the athlete also pledged a $100,000 donation to The Trevor Project.


Nassib Comes Out

Carl Nassib, a defensive end for the Las Vegas Raiders, made history on Monday as the first active NFL player to come out as gay.

The 28-year-old made the announcement in an Instagram video, along with a longer written statement.

“I just want to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest. I really have the best life, I’ve got the best family, friends and job a guy could ask for,” he said in the post.

“I’m a pretty private person so I hope you guys know that I’m really not doing this for attention. I just think that representation and visibility are so important,” he continued.

“I actually hope that like one day, videos like this and the whole coming-out process are just not necessary. But until then, I’m going to do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting, that’s compassionate and I’m going to start by donating $100,000 to The Trevor Project.”

In the text that followed his video, Nassib went on to explain why he was so drawn to The Trevor Project and its mission to provide suicide prevention services to the LGBTQ community. 

He also noted that he was thankful for the support from his NFL coaches and fellow players. “From the jump, I was greeted with the utmost respect and acceptance,” he wrote.

Praise From Sports Community

Nassib’s announcement was met with praise from his team on social media, as well as other athletes and the NFL itself.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement on behalf of the league, saying that it “is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth.”

Several football fans and commentators, including sports reporter Jemele Hill, also pointed to the potential impact his bravery could have.  

“Carl Nassib likely isn’t the only active gay player in the NFL, but him coming forward will be huge for those who haven’t gotten there yet,” HIll tweeted. “Very courageous decision that will not only help other players but so many young people in this country.”

See what others are saying:(ESPN)(The New York Times)(NBC News)

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Billie Eilish Apologizes for Mouthing Racist Slur in Old Clip

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Eilish said she is “appalled and embarrassed” to have mouthed along to a song containing the term, which she did not know was a slur at the time.


Video Shows Billie Eilish Using Slur

Singer Billie Eilish apologized Monday night for mouthing an anti-Asian racial slur in an old video that recently resurfaced on social media. 

The clip was featured in a compilation that went viral on TikTok. In it, she was mouthing along to the song “Fish” by Tyler the Creator, which contains the slur. The compilation also showed her speaking in a voice that many interpreted as her mocking foreign accents or languages.

“I love you guys, and many of you have been asking me to address this,” Eilish wrote on her Instagram story. “And this is something that I WANT to address because I’m being labeled something that I am not.”

Eilish Apologizes for Mouthing Term 

The “Bad Guy” singer said she was 13 or 14 at the time the video was taken, and claimed she had no idea the word was a derogatory term at the time. 

“I am appalled and embarrassed and want to barf that I ever mouthed along to that word,” Eilish wrote. “This song was the only time I’d ever heard that word as it was never used around me by anyone in my family. Regardless of my ignorance and age at the time, nothing excuses the fact is that it was hurtful. And for that I am sorry.”

Regarding accusations that she mocked foreign accents and languages, the singer said she was speaking a “silly gibberish” that she made up as a child and uses around her pets, family, and friends in a joking manner. 

“It is absolute gibberish and just me goofing around, and is in NO way an imitation of anyone or any language, accent or culture in the SLIGHTEST,” she added. “Anyone who knows me has seen me goofing around with voices my whole life.”

Regardless of how it was interpreted I did not mean for any of my actions to have caused hurt to others and it absolutely breaks my heart that it is being labeled now in a way that might cause pain to people hearing it,” she continued.

The Grammy Award-winner said that she wants to use her platform to promote “inclusion, kindness, tolerance, equity, and equality.” She closed her statement by telling her followers that it is important for people to listen and learn when it comes to conversations about these subjects.

Read her full apology below.

See what others are saying: (Variety) (Complex) (The Guardian)

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