May 27th, 2014
02:56 PM ET
You can blame Seth Rogen for many things – slacker performances, curly hair, "The Green Hornet." But he won't be happy if you lay a "sexist movie monoculture" – one claimed to contribute to last week's California killing spree – at his feet.
That's how he and Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday got into a tiff. In an essay published Sunday, Hornaday mentioned Rogen's recent comedy "Neighbors" as symbolic of a type of movie that, in the case of killer Elliot Rodger, gets twisted into an unfulfilled fantasy.
Hornaday described a Hollywood culture of "insecurity and entitlement" and mass entertainment "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)."
"Rodger’s rampage," she wrote, "may be a function of his own profound distress, but it also shows how a sexist movie monoculture can be toxic for women and men alike."
Which led her to Rogen.
"How many students watch outsized frat-boy fantasies like 'Neighbors' and feel, as Rodger did, unjustly shut out of college life that should be full of 'sex and fun and pleasure'?" Hornaday wrote. "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, 'It’s not fair'?"
Rogen responded on Twitter.
".@AnnHornaday I find your article horribly insulting and misinformed," he tweeted. A minute later, he added, ".@AnnHornaday how dare you imply that me getting girls in movies caused a lunatic to go on a rampage."
Director and writer Apatow, a Rogen colleague, added on to the actor's tweets.
"She uses tragedy to promote herself with idiotic thoughts," Apatow tweeted, later adding that essays such as Hornaday's generate traffic and sell papers.
Apatow also noted how events such as the Isla Vista, California, rampage become fodder for news media debates, including ones seen on CNN.
UPDATE, 4:38 p.m. ET: Hornaday has responded to commenters in a new column on the Washington Post site. In a video with the column, she addressed Rogen and Apatow's tweets.
"In singling out 'Neighbors' and Judd Apatow I by no means meant to cast blame on those movies or Judd Apatow's work for this heinous action," she said. "But it bears all of us asking what the costs are of having such a narrow range of stories that we constantly go back to."
She added in the column, "Let the conversation continue."
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