For anyone paying attention, Hollywood’s gun hypocrisy is always on full display. But for USA Today, it took a while to notice.
In her recent article Guns, Politics and Hollywood Collide, columnist Andrea Mandell picked up on the fact that what Hollywood actors say about guns doesn’t often match what they portray — and profit from — onscreen.
Most recently, Girls star Lena Dunham hounded Matt Damon to remove the guns from the advertisements of his latest Jason Bourne film. She reposted a photo on Instagram of a subway advert where Bourne’s gun was ripped out and captioned, “So tired of guns.”
The actor responded to the post when talking to E!, as seen in the above video.
“I totally get it,” Damon said. “I get not wanting to see a picture of a gun right now.”
He tried to explain the posters away by stating the obvious, but it was evident his own hypocrisy trapped him as a gun-control advocate:
“The marketing purposes of Jason Bourne, I mean, you know, he is a guy who runs around with a gun. So, it’s not gratuitous marketing but in light of recent events, I understand that impulse to want to tear the gun out of the picture.”
It’s hard to miss what Damon is saying: “Do as I say, not as I do.” So, we commend USA Today for finally noticing, though perhaps Mandell just got lucky.
In her piece, she points to studies that suggest violence in movies isn’t always directly connected to real-life violence. Mandela states that some Hollywood directors, particularly anti-gun proponents, take solace in that fact. A study published in the American Journal of Medicine shows that America’s gun murder rate is 25 times higher than other countries who consume the same entertainment. In other words, producing a film with gun violence doesn’t increase gun violence. Therefore they can still make money. That’s a clear conscience in their book. But that doesn’t seem to stop the constant anti-gun messages coming from Hollywood celebs.
One of those is Amy Schumer, whose 2015 film Trainwreck was showing in Louisiana when a gunman burst in and killed two women in the theater. The actress has since lobbied for gun control, and it appears she 's avoiding portraying gun violence in more recent roles… well, almost:
The comedian recently cut a violent scene out of [an upcoming] film. In the action-comedy, "there are bad guys and so there are guns," she says. "It’s not like there are no guns in any frame of this movie. (But) I was supposed to kill people with guns and I was like, 'I don’t want to do that.' And everybody was like, 'Yeah, we don’t want to do that.'
"So I don’t know at all what Hollywood should do. I just know that I want to do my part for not glorifying and making people with guns look super-powerful."
“What's clear is that the industry is being challenged by its audience to do better,” Mandell concludes.