For years now, Hollywood executives and celebrities have been telling us that violent movies and television shows have absolutely nothing to do with real-life violence, and anti-gun actors like Sylvester Stallone have pontificated about the need for more gun control laws even as they continue to star in shoot-em-up action movies. Just when we were starting to get used to their hypocritical stance, however, the entertainment industry has suddenly decided that maybe the stories they tell do have an impact on the culture at large. Violent movies are still okay, mind you, but as of this week anything that portrays law enforcement in a positive light is problematic.
Joining me on today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co. to talk about the sudden animosity for everything from Live PD to the children’s cartoon Paw Patrol is film critic and commentator Christian Toto of Hollywood in Toto, who says the entertainment industry is living in such fear of Internet scolds and the perpetually offended that even a top-rated show like Live PD can get the axe before the online mobs even demand its cancellation. And while show host Dan Abrams says he wants to bring the show back to another platform, Toto is pessimistic about the chances of that happening. He argues that networks big and small are living with the same fear of running afoul of the speech police, and it’s unlikely that any network would take a chance on a show like Live PD at the moment, despite the consistently high ratings the show drew on A&E.
Over at Hot Air, my friend Ed Morrissey argues that ratings are clearly now secondary to looking “woke”.
If the ratings and loyal viewer base disappeared because of the anger over the George Floyd homicide, then cancellation would be understandable. It’s still an open question as to whether people might lose their taste for the show after all of the unrest of the last couple of weeks. But why not wait to let the viewers make that decision on their own? If the ratings collapsed, then the “no way forward” conclusion might make sense.
The obvious conclusion is that ratings and viewers don’t actually matter to A&E. Or, perhaps more accurately, ratings and viewers matter less to A&E than pretensions to “wokeness.” And in this case, education and transparency regarding law enforcement will lose out to corporate virtue-signaling.
It won’t be long now before actors start apologizing for portraying police officers as anything other than monsters in TV shows and films. And with HBO pulling Gone With the Wind over concerns about its cultural relevance, how long before the cable network yanks The Wire from streaming services?
Hollywood is in the midst of a moral panic at the moment, and there’s really no telling how far the industry will self-censor in the name of “justice.” One thing you can be sure of however: no one in Hollywood is going to go bankrupt giving back all the money they made off of the countless police procedurals, cop dramas, and reality shows featuring law enforcement over the past few years. After all, getting woke doesn’t mean going broke.