Hollywood's hypocrisy about Harvey Weinstein is only outdone by its hypocrisy about gun control.
We still don't know why Stephen Paddock unleashed his arsenal in an evil attack on an outdoor concert crowd in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, killing 59 people and injuring more than 500. But Hollywood's glitterati seem to know, apparently. They quickly and predictably jumped on Twitter and other media outlets to denounce the National Rifle Association as a terrorist and demand "common sense gun control" that, as usual, wouldn't have stopped Paddock in any way.
So why does America have this problem with mass shootings? Will Hollywood ever look inward on this question and explore its role? Four of the biggest box-office successes in the week leading up to the shooting demonstrated the degree to which Tinseltown is aggressively promoting a culture of gun ultraviolence in America.
Matt Philbin of the Media Research Center reported that an astounding 589 incidents of violence were featured "Kingsman: The Golden Circle," "American Assassin," Stephen King's "It" and "mother!" And that's just four movies. It gets worse: There were no less than 212 incidents of gun violence, and the body count is at least 192. In over 100 incidents of gun violence, some kind of automatic weapon is used (which is why the numbers are undercounted — researchers literally couldn't count fast enough).
There are plenty of other forms of violence as well.
"It" is the monster hit of the fall, with a reported domestic box-office take of $315 million and counting. The movie has only three gun scenes, but one features a penetrating captive bolt pistol, which is traditionally used to stun animals prior to slaughter. Victims are stabbed and bludgeoned, and the killer clown even bites off the arm of a little child. "Mother!" includes an atrocious scene in which a crowd dismembers and eats a baby.
"Kingsman: The Golden Circle" was the No. 1 film that weekend. It's the sequel to the hyperviolent "Kingsman: The Secret Service," which contained one of the grisliest murder scenes that Hollywood has ever produced; in it, the antagonist activates some kind of demonic neurological wave that causes church parishioners to slaughter one another until they're all dead.
"Kingsman: The Golden Circle" includes 118 incidents of gun violence (70 of them with automatic weapons) and another 164 incidents of other violence. Philbin lists the instances, saying, "There are body slams, punches, explosions, ripping off limbs, ripping out vocal cords, putting people in meat grinders, cannibalism, lasso violence, slicing people in half and eyes randomly exploding from people's heads."
The Hypocrite in Chief of this production is actress Julianne Moore, who plays the drug-lord supervillain. Moore went on Jimmy Fallon's late-night show to receive the usual love bombs. Fallon said, "'Kingsman' alone is fantastic!" Moore responded: "Thank you! It's a fun movie, right? It's really, really fun."
Since the Vegas mass shooting, Moore's Twitter feed has been stuffed with tweets in which she attacks the NRA and demands gun control legislation. Naturally, nowhere in this October Twitter festival is there any mention of her "really fun" hit movie.
The Hollywood Reporter, to its credit, asked Moore, "Do critics who accuse Hollywood of glorifying gunplay have a valid point?" Moore shot back, "It is impossible to be killed by watching a violent movie, but unfortunately, it is all too possible to be shot and killed while sitting in a theater and watching any kind of movie."
Hollywood might point the finger of blame for all this violence back on the audience, and there's merit to that argument. The "Kingsman" sequel won the weekend box office for two weeks. Before that, "It" won for two weeks. And before that, the winner for three consecutive weekends was ... "The Hitman's Bodyguard."
But does that exonerate Hollywood for feeding the beast?
Movie stars have no problem mudslinging against the NRA and blaming it for mass shootings. But they have demonstrated a complete lack of moral introspection about their own glamorization of over-the-top violence with guns ... and everything else. Until they get serious about their own responsibility, they have no right to judge anyone else.
L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org. To find out more about Brent Bozell III and Tim Graham, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.