Seth Rogen took to Twitter on Memorial Day, May 26, to respond to a Washington Post film critic whose recent article on the Santa Barbara shooting rampage suggested that films like Neighbors and comedies by Judd Apatow may be partially responsible for encouraging the killer.
"I find your article horribly insulting and misinformed," Rogen, 32, tweeted to film critic Ann Hornaday. "How dare you imply that me getting girls in movies caused a lunatic to go on a rampage."
On Saturday, May 24, three people were fatally stabbed in an apartment building while three more were shot to death near the campus of UC Santa Barbara. Suspected murderer Elliot Rodger, 22, was later found dead-- what is believed to be a suicide.
Rodger, whose father was in the film industry and served as a second-unit director on the 2012 film The Hunger Games, wrote a manifesto detailing his supposed reasons for wanting to kill, and released a seven-minute YouTube video in which he detailed his plans for the murders.
On Sunday, respected film critic Ann Hornaday wrote an article titled, In A Final Videotaped Message, A Sad Reflection Of The Sexist Stories We So Often See On Screen.
She writes: "How many students watch outsized frat-boy fantasies like "Neighbors" and feel, as Rodger did, unjustly shut out of college life that should be full of "sex and fun and pleasure"? How many men, raised on a steady diet of Judd Apatow comedies in which the shlubby arrested adolescent always gets the girl, find that those happy endings constantly elude them and conclude, "It's not fair"? Movies may not reflect reality, but they powerfully condition what we desire, expect and feel we deserve from it."
Apatow, who has worked with Rogen on several films including Knocked Up and Superbad, also responded to the article, and accused Hornaday of using the tragedy of the killings to promote her own agenda. He tweeted:
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Also in the article, Hornaday presents several statistics about the film industry. "Every year, San Diego State University researcher Martha Lauzen releases a 'Celluloid Ceiling' report in which she delivers distressing statistics regarding the state of women in Hollywood. This year, she found that women made up just 16 percent of directors, writers, producers, cinematographers and editors working on the top 250 movies of 2013; similarly, women accounted for just 15 percent of protagonists in those films. Even if 51 percent of our movies were made by women, Elliot Rodger still would have been seriously ill. But it's worth examining who gets to be represented on screen, and how."
Whose side are you on? Do you think movies like Neighbors and Superbad are a bad influence on the youth culture?