by Benjamin Fearnow
WASHINGTON (CBSDC) â€” Film director Judd Apatow and actor Seth Rogen both blasted Washington Post film critic Ann Hornadayâ€™s op-ed in which she suggests that Elliot Rodgerâ€™s mass killing in Isla Vista, Calif., is tied to white men in Hollywood promoting â€œescapist fantasiesâ€ that â€œrevolve around vigilantism and sexual wish-fulfillment.â€
Hornaday argued throughout the Sunday op-ed that the California killerâ€™s rampage and YouTube videos expressing his â€œlonelinessâ€ and â€œrejectionâ€ resemble movies made in a Hollywood culture that inflates misogynistic delusions â€“ as channeled through â€œmale studio executives.â€
She also mentioned Rogenâ€™s movie â€œNeighborsâ€ and Apatow by name in the piece.
â€œAs Rodger bemoaned his life of â€˜loneliness, rejection and unfulfilled desireâ€™ and arrogantly announced that he would now prove his own status as â€˜the true alpha male,â€™ he unwittingly expressed the toxic double helix of insecurity and entitlement that comprises Hollywoodâ€™s DNA,â€ writes Hornaday.
â€œFor generations, mass entertainment has been overwhelmingly controlled by white men, whose escapist fantasies so often revolve around vigilantism and sexual wish-fulfillment (often, if not always, featuring a steady through-line of casual misogyny),â€ continues Hornaday.
Hornaday then took shots directly at Apatow and Rogen:
â€œHow many students watch outsized frat-boy fantasies like â€˜Neighborsâ€™ and feel, as Rodger did, unjustly shut out of college life that should be full of â€˜sex and fun and pleasure?â€™ 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, â€˜Itâ€™s not fair?â€™â€
Rogen and Apatow ridiculed the op-ed on Monday via Twitter.
â€œ@AnnHornaday how dare you imply that me getting girls in movies caused a lunatic to go on a rampage,â€Rogen tweeted in response, receiving hundreds of re-tweets and favorites.
Apatow responded, adding to Rogenâ€™s comments on Twitter: â€œI find your article horribly insulting and misinformed.â€
â€œShe uses tragedy to promote herself with idiotic thoughts,â€ Apatow posted.
Apatow re-posted a continuing series of tweets on the topic: â€œwhy is it always everything but mental illnessâ€ asked one Twitter user.
â€œBecause that doesnâ€™t sell papers,â€ writes Apatow.
He then went on to ridicule media models for perpetuating or misconstruing stories simply for profit: â€œWith every view her paper makes money from discussing a story no one yet knows anything about. Now it is a media profit center,â€ he tweeted.
â€œRemember everyone â€“ ads next to articles generate money. They say something shocking and uninformed & get you to click on it to profit,â€ he writes.
Apatow then re-directed the conversation to the topic of mental health, a continuing point of debate following information that the shooter had been undergoing mental health evaluations since he was 8-years old.
â€œMost of earth canâ€™t find a mateâ€”someone to love. People who commit murder of numerous people have mental health issues of some type,â€ wrote Apatow.
In a video response on Tuesday, Hornaday said that she â€œby no means meant to cast blame on those movies or Judd Apatowâ€™s work for this heinous action. Obviously not,â€ she said, adding however, that the â€œculture at largeâ€ should consider what the â€œcosts are for having such a narrow range of stories that we go back toâ€ in Hollywood narratives.
â€œI certainly understand why Seth Rogen and Judd Apatow would feel defensive,â€ said Hornaday, noting that the large social media response and her email inbox show that there are obviously many â€œusefulâ€ questions which still surround Hollywood films that are â€œprimarily created by men.â€
Hornaday said that the YouTube videos posted by Rodger himself held a â€œHollywood-like production value,â€ and that the culture and sense of entitlement surrounding the 22-year-old surely had some impact on his actions.