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Maher slams Hollywood for ‘unbridled romanticization of gun violence’ following shootings

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HBO host and political commentator Bill Maher criticized what he characterized as Hollywood’s “romanticization” of gun violence following multiple recent mass shootings that have thrust talks of gun reform back into the national spotlight. 

Maher said on his show “Real Time With Bill Maher” that Hollywood is the “wokest place on Earth in every other area of social responsibility,” using intimacy coordinators to assist with sex scenes and sensitivity readers to edit scripts. 

“But when it comes to the unbridled romanticization of gun violence, crickets,” he said. 

Maher argued that modern movies do not show bullying, fat shaming or ethnic stereotyping because including them would give them a platform but a “hero” can still get their anger out by killing others with guns. 

He showed a series of clips of action movies such as “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Deadpool” in which the main characters are shooting their enemies with motivational music playing in the background. 

Maher argued that there are four significant factors that contribute to gun violence, including mental health, easy access to firearms, social media and smartphones amplifying bullying, and gun violence in movies and television. 

He added that smoking is not shown in movies anymore because of the risk that it might “look cool” and influence children to try it but action heroes can have a similar influence on how young viewers react. 

Maher said there is a “sick similarity” between the revenge motif of action movies and the actions of school shooters. 

A 2015 study sponsored by the American Counseling Association found that 61 percent of school shooters carried out the attack to exact revenge on someone. 

“Like every school shooter, our movie heroes are grievance collectors, and when it comes to action movies, there’s one story: He was a nice guy, but they pushed him too far, and now it’s on,” Maher said. 

He said he does not support censorship stopping these movies from being made based on what “crazy people might do, but don’t look me in the eye and tell me this isn’t a big part of the problem.”

The comments from the comedian come following high-profile shootings in Buffalo, N.Y., Uvalde, Texas, and Tulsa, Okla., in which gunmen killed dozens of people.

A group of bipartisan senators is currently in negotiations to reach a deal on gun violence legislation. However, it’s unclear if the talks will bear fruit.

Tags action movies Bill Maher Bill Maher gun violence Real Time school shootings
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