'Glee' School Shooting Episode: Newtown Anti-Gun Group Says 'Watch With Caution'
A volunteer organization formed after the Sandy Hook massacre urges residents not to tune in; one parent criticizes show producers for not alerting the town ahead of time.
Thursday night's Glee, which involved a school shooting, has drawn a warning to "watch with caution" by an anti-violence organization formed following the Sandy Hook tragedy in Newtown, Conn.
Ahead of the episode's airing, a post on the Newtown Action Alliance's Facebook page urged people to avoid tuning in to the Ryan Murphy-created Fox dramedy. "I would suggest if you do watch this TV show to either not watch it tonight or watch with caution," the post read.
The Newtown-based volunteer group posted a message shortly afterward explaining that the suggestion was meant for town residents, not the wider world.
"So, Glee is really going there... and we are interested in your feedback," said the post. "What do you think about this? Does it further the gun debate? Do you think the episode was timed to coincide with the events happening right now in Washington? Is it just a sensationalist attempt at ratings? Are you planning on watching it?"
The Newtown Action Alliance as well as reps for Fox and studio 20th Television did not immediately respond to THR's request for comment. Neither did Murphy, who canceled a planned Tuesday teleconference with reporters because of Glee production demands. The call has yet to be rescheduled. Reps for Fox and studio 20th Television did not immediately respond to THR's requests for comment.
Andrew Paley, whose two sons survived the Sandy Hook massacre, slammed the show on Facebook for going forward with the shooting story line while the community is still healing from the events of Dec. 14.
"Those of us with kids that survived the shooting do not need to watch this episode," he wrote. "It's too soon as our kids and our own wounds are still too new. I understand keeping it in the minds of the Nation but dammit, at least let the people of Newtown know before hand. I found out because an old friend who blogs about the show have me a heads up. The producers should be ashamed to not think of us and how we'd feel if we just happened to be watching."
Paley echoed that sentiment in a Friday morning appearance on CNN, arguing: "We have no problem, at least the parents I've spoken to, that they aired an episode that had a school shooting. It's reality. It happened here. It happened at Columbine. ... What's really upsetting is that no one, none of the producers, reached out to the town of Newtown to let us residents who were so close to this episode know ... ."
According to NBC News, the Newtown school superintendent issued a letter to parents on Thursday that warned: "This has the potential to be disturbing to many of our students, so I wanted you to know ahead of time."
The award-winning series' latest socially relevant episode, called "Shooting Star," opened with a parental guidance warning. It shows members of New Directions hiding in a classroom after hearing gunshots in the hallway; there were no injuries but the harrowing experience left students shaken and cost Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) her job.
As previously reported, a spokesman for 20th Television told THR that the plot would continue in the four remaining episodes of season four. "All we can say on that front is, 'Stay tuned,' " he said.
Lesley Goldberg contributed to this post.