Parents Television Council Slams Hollywood Critics of 'American Sniper' for "Callous Hypocrisy"

Keith Bernstein
'American Sniper'

"Nobody within Hollywood was worried about what the impact of a character like Walter White would be, and Walter White was cooking meth and selling it to kids. … But now all of a sudden, we should be concerned about Clint Eastwood 'celebrating a killer'?"

Seth Rogen and Michael Moore may have backtracked from tweets that seemed to criticize American Sniper, but objections to the violent content of the movie from people in Hollywood has the Parents Television Council slamming the entertainment industry for what the organization's communications director Dan Isett calls "callous hypocrisy."

"Hollywood cannot have it both ways. It is intellectually dishonest to decry the impact of one film for its violence and 'glorification of a killer' while streaming enormous amounts of violent content into every living room in the country," Isett wrote in a blog post. "If Hollywood moguls are going to trash a film like American Sniper for 'glorifying violence,' then they have every right to do so. But where is the similar concern about the overwhelming amount of violence on television, night after night?"

Specifically, Isett told The Hollywood Reporter he couldn't recall anyone in Hollywood complaining about TV shows centered on serial killers, like Hannibal or Dexter.

"If we're going to have a real discussion about media violence, and that's a worthwhile discussion to have, then let's have a real discussion about media violence — not simply use the violence and other material in this film as reason to hatchet it for what appear to be other reasons," Isett told THR.

He added: "What you are seeing is, 'Gosh, should we be making a movie that 'celebrates a killer?' when you never hear that criticism about all of the other movies and all of the other television shows that arguably celebrate a killer. That particular counterargument is never made within Hollywood itself; it's made by people like me."

Offering another example of an antihero Hollywood was seemingly unconcerned about glorifying, Isett said, "Nobody within Hollywood was worried about what the impact of a character like [Breaking Bad's] Walter White would be, and Walter White was cooking meth and selling it to kids. And nobody was concerned about that sort of thing because it was a different context. But now all of a sudden, we should be concerned about [American Sniper director] Clint Eastwood 'celebrating a killer' when the context is different? That's simply intellectually dishonest and it's time Hollywood was honest with itself."

American Sniper, which opened to $107 million over Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, stars Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in U.S. history.

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