- Bill Smith, the founder of a mental health advocacy group named Inseparable, slammed an upcoming Peacock show starring Will Forte as “wildly irresponsible” for having a plot that deals with a man contemplating suicide.
- The show, titled “Expiration Date,” was announced last week, and its complete plot details are unknown, but Smith argued that it will “no doubt, endanger countless viewers.”
- This prompted criticism online from those who said that it is unfair to police a show that has released very little information to the public and has yet to be seen.
- Meanwhile, others agreed with Smith and argued that shows about suicide should be off-limits, especially following backlash that shows like “13 Reasons Why” faced for their dangerous portrayals of suicide.
Mental Health Advocate Slams “Expiration Date”
The founder of a mental health non-profit is slamming an upcoming Peacock show starring Will Forte as “wildly irresponsible” because it will deal with suicide.
The show, titled “Expiration Date,” was first announced last week. According to Deadline, it will follow Forte’s character who, “consumed by grief, finds a life insurance policy that covers suicide, provided that the individual doesn’t carry out the deed within one year. Content that his family will be provided for, Robin sets his expiration date and contemplates how he will spend his final year. It’s going to be a long twelve months.”
No information on specific plot details, other characters, additional cast members, or a release date have been made available. “Expiration Date” is still in the development stage, with “Fleabag” producers Harry and Jack Williams working alongside Forte.
However, on Monday, the founder of an organization that fights for mental health policy denounced the prospect of this show.
“What a wildly irresponsible and callous concept that will, no doubt, endanger countless viewers,” Inseparable founder Bill Smith said in a statement to Variety.
“Glamorizing suicide leads to contagion, that is a fact. At a time when our country is already suffering a mental health crisis compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has left Americans’ mental wellbeing at a two-decade low, the last thing we need is a reckless show hinged on the question of ‘will he or won’t he’ succumb to the devastation of depression — an all too real and painful experience for millions of Americans.”
“NBCUniversal would do well to rethink such a dangerous idea that could lead to an increase in suicide among viewers,” Smith continued.
Debate Sparked on Policing Art
His remarks were met with backlash by some in the entertainment industry who felt it was unfair to vilify a show that has not yet been made.
“They haven’t even seen a script! Stop policing/criticizing art you haven’t even seen,” comedian and actor Billy Eichner wrote. “I have nothing to do with this show btw. This just drives me CRAZY!”
“Good thing no one cancelled Breaking Bad prior to seeing it for “glorifying” the dangerous behavior of drug manufacturing,” writer and producer Kim Carmele also said. “Hey, how bout we give proven creators the benefit of the doubt that they MIGHT handle delicate topics with respect and nuance before we leap to outrage?”
Many others also criticized Smith’s swift inclination to condemn “Expiration Date,” arguing that if the writers and producers handle it correctly, the show may even help people struggling with depression.
Concerns Regarding “13 Reasons Why”
Smith was not alone in his concerns. Some people were likewise upset with Peacock for making a show that deals heavily with suicide, citing the controversial Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” as a cause for worry.
The show, which premiered in 2017, follows the story of a high school girl who commits suicide. It was slammed by critics and mental health advocates for depicting suicide in a potentially harmful way to a largely teenage audience. A report eventually found that in the month after the show’s debut, there was a nearly 30% spike in teen suicides across the United States. Netflix was even pushed to remove a graphic scene that showed the main character taking her own life.
Critics fear that a show like “Expiration Date” could cause a similar phenomenon, however, with little details on how the show will handle its protagonist’s struggle with depression, it is unclear if those concerns are valid or not. NBC has not yet responded to these concerns.
If you or someone you know is struggling and needs help the National Suicide Hotline can be reached at 800-273-8255 and provides free, confidential, 24-hour support to those who need it.
Chris Pratt Denies Association With Hillsong Church: “I’ve Never Actually Been”
The church has been accused of having anti-LGBTQ ties, something Pratt has taken a hit for.
Pratt Addresses Hillsong Controversy
After several years of facing criticism for his alleged ties to the controversial Hillsong Church, actor Chris Pratt said he has “never actually been” to the church and is “not a religious person.”
The Hillsong Church has been condemned for being anti-LGBTQ. The issue received increased attention in 2019 when actor Elliot Page tweeted, “If you are a famous actor and you belong to an organization that hates a certain group of people, don’t be surprised if someone simply wonders why it’s not addressed.”
“Being anti LGBTQ is wrong, there aren’t two sides,” he continued.
At the time, Pratt responded to the allegations by saying that “nothing could be further from the truth” and that he believes “everyone is entitled to love who they want.” He doubled down on his denial in a profile published Tuesday in Men’s Health.
“I never went to Hillsong. I’ve never actually been to Hillsong,” he told the outlet. “I don’t know anyone from that church.”
Instead, Pratt said he attends Zoe Church in Los Angeles, though not exclusively. According to Men’s Health, Zoe Church is not without its issues. The church was founded by a pastor who produced a film that equated “sexual brokeness” to “same-sex attraction.” Other outlets have also described it as a Hillsong affiliate.
Pratt faced his biggest wave of backlash in 2020 when Internet memes declared him the “worst” Chris compared to other actors with the same first name, including Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, and Chris Pine. A slew of celebrities quickly came to Pratt’s defense, arguing the criticism was unjustifiably mean. Their speedy responses only heightened the online conversation and many of the celebrities who spoke out were eventually mocked for doing so.
Pratt Says He is Not Religious
As for why the Internet has become increasingly anti-Pratt, his alleged association to Hillsong was a major factor. Some also speculated he was a supporter of Donald Trump as he did not join his “Avengers” co-stars for a Joe Biden fundraiser, though Pratt is not usually politically outspoken in either direction.
Pratt believes the backlash against him started when he gave a speech at the MTV Movie Awards in 2018 where he said, “God is real. God loves you. God wants the best for you.” He understands why those remarks may have rubbed people the wrong way.
“Maybe it was hubris. For me to stand up on the stage and say the things that I said, I’m not sure I touched anybody,” he told Men’s Health. “Religion has been oppressive as fuck for a long time. I didn’t know that I would kind of become the face of religion when really I’m not a religious person.”
He went on to explain that in his eyes, there is a difference between adhering to certain customs and believing in God versus using God to control and harm people and justify hatred.
“The evil that’s in the heart of every single man has glommed on to the back of religion and come along for the ride,” he said.
See what others are saying: (Men’s Health) (The AV Club) (People)
Jodie Sweetin Releases Statement After Getting Pushed By Officers at Pro-Choice Protest: “This Will Not Deter Us”
“Love everyone out there in the streets fighting for what’s right,” she wrote on Instagram.
Actress Pushed at Protest
After viral footage showed Jodie Sweetin getting pushed to the ground by officers with the Los Angeles Police Department while attending a pro-choice protest, the “Full House” actress said demonstraters “will continue fighting” for their rights.
Sweetin was attending a protest off the 101 freeway on Saturday following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Photojournalist Mike Ade, who captured the video, said the actress was “trying to lead a group of peaceful protestors away from the freeway” when officers pushed her. Sweetin was standing on a curb when she was pushed and fell down on the cement road. Ade wrote that she was “fortunately…okay.”
Ade shared a handful of other videos depicting officers using similar tactics on other protesters. As these videos started circulating online, many became outraged by the LAPD’s response to the protests.
Sweetin Addresses Incident
Following the incident, Sweetin released a statement where she said the fight against the court’s decision is not over.
“I’m extremely proud of the hundreds of people who showed up yesterday to exercise their First Amendment rights and take immediate action to peacefully protest the giant injustices that have been delivered from our Supreme Court,” Sweetin said. “Our activism will continue until our voices are heard and action is taken. This will not deter us, we will continue fighting for our rights. We are not free until ALL of us are free.”
Sweetin also shared footage of the incident and other clips of officers clashing with protesters on her Instagram story. She cheered protesters in a comment on a video of the push shared by a social justice group called The Progressivists.
“Love everyone out there in the streets fighting for what’s right,” she wrote.
According to a statement obtained by Deadline, the LAPD is looking into the matter.
“The LAPD is aware of a video clip of a woman being pushed to the ground by officers not allowing the group to enter on foot and overtake the 101 freeway,” the statement said. “The force used will be evaluated against the LAPD’s policy and procedure.”
See what others are saying: (Deadline) (Rolling Stone) (The Hollywood Reporter)
Dave Chappelle Decides Against Having Former High School’s Theater Named After Him
“The idea that my name will be turned into an instrument of someone else’s perceived oppression is untenable to me,” the comedian reportedly said.
Theater Named Announced
Comedian Dave Chappelle opted on Monday to not have the theater at his alma mater high school named after him, according to a report from The Washington Post.
The Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington D.C. previously planned to name its theater in honor of Chappelle, as he is a distinct alum and donor. While Chappelle formerly said such a gesture would be “the most significant honor of [his] life,” he announced during Monday’s naming ceremony that it would bear a different title.
The school’s theater will instead be called the Theater for Artistic Freedom and Expression.
A naming ceremony was initially set to take place in November, but was postponed after the comedian began facing backlash for transphobic jokes in his Netflix special “The Closer.”
Among other things, he said he was “Team TERF,” which stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist. He also made a joke about Caitlyn Jenner and remarks comparing the genitalia of transgender women to Beyond and Impossible meat.
The jokes embroiled Chappelle in controversy, and reports claimed that some students at Duke Ellington took issue with the comments. When Chappelle ended up visiting the school amid the scandal, Politico reported that one student told the comedian, “I’m 16 and I think you’re childish, you handled it like a child.”
Chappelle Defends Controversial Special
According to The Post, Chappelle said the criticism against him “sincerely” hurt, but added that “the Ellington Family is my family.” He claimed he did not want the theater being named after him to distract students.
“The idea that my name will be turned into an instrument of someone else’s perceived oppression is untenable to me,” he said according to Josh Rogin, a columnist for the outlet.
Rogin also tweeted that Chappelle took time out of the ceremony to slam the criticisms levied against him, accusing upset students of promoting someone else’s agenda.
“These kids didn’t understand that they were instruments of oppression,” he reportedly said.
“You cannot report on an artist’s work and remove artistic nuance,” Chappelle continued while denouncing the press coverage of his Netflix special.
According to David Frum, a staff writer for The Atlantic who attended the ceremony, Chappelle suggested he was open to potentially adding his name to the theater at a later date when the community is ready.