Ann Hornaday’s column on Hollywood’s impact on the mass killings in Santa Barbara stirred a lot of controversy. Today, she appeared on ESPN’s The Tony Kornheiser Show, where she is a regular film critic, to discuss the controversy.
Hornaday began by explaining how she came to write this particular column:
Here’s what happened. I got a call from my editor over the weekend — after the horrific events in Isla Vista. And I will be honest, I was just coming in from France, and I was not as on top of things as is my want. And he said that the young man had put up this YouTube video that had these really eerily, startlingly sophisticated production values. And would I please look at it and write about it … so my focus in this as a film critic were really truly only on that YouTube video.
Reading between the lines here, this sounds like she had just returned from Cannes, wasn’t up to speed on the story, and might have rushed the column a bit.
She then specifically addressed the controversy over her seeming to suggest that Judd Apatow movies were to blame for creating an environment that could lead to violence:
I used Judd Apatow comedies, and I also used the movie Neighbors…So, in other words, I was using their work as an example, not to suggest blame or cause and effect. I just wanted to illustrate my point with things that might be familiar to readers. And I will be honest, I honestly do understand why they are upset — because nobody wants to be associated with this. And using them as an example, even though, again, I wasn’t suggesting cause and effect, I can understand their dismay. I really can. But they did get really offended and really angry…
If this had been about Apatow, then I would have felt honor-bound to say he created one of the most feminist pieces of work — and I would daresay a masterpiece in the history of pop culture, which was Freaks and Geeks. And I will defend Funny People until the cows come home. And he has also helped Lena Dunham find an audience.
So yes, it sounds like she’s walking the Apatow stuff back a bit…