NBC’s “Law and Order: SVU” infuriated conservatives on Wednesday when a fictional right-wing political pundit was brutally raped as a plot device that led to partisan dialogue among liberal characters.
The episode featured a blond, faux pundit named Martha Cobb, who is sexually assaulted after Antifa protesters and white supremacists clash and interrupted her political rally. The assault resulted in fictional members of the NYPD arguing about politics while investigating the case.
At one point, Ice-T’s character, Fin Tutuola, who was investigating the case, asked a colleague, “You know she wants all Jews and Muslims to convert to Christianity, right?”
Another character stated that while some of what the fictional pundit says is “completely outrageous,” other positions "actually make a lot of sense.”
Mariska Hargitay’s Olivia Benson fired back, “Yeah, like closing down Planned Parenthood or deporting the Dreamers?”
“I’ve received insults, death threats, and even my mother has been attacked online. For ‘SVU’ to depict rape and violence in such a manner, the show risks normalizing it"
Conservative commentator Britt McHenry, who is outspoken and blond like the fictional “SVU” character, called the episode “disturbing” and said NBC could normalize violence against pundits who share her views -- especially because police seem to be against the victim.
“I’ve received insults, death threats, and even my mother has been attacked online. For ‘SVU’ to depict rape and violence in such a manner, the show risks normalizing it,” McHenry told Fox News.
The entire episode was peppered with political talking points and observations that portrayed conservatives in a negative light and painted the right-leaning pundit as a “troll” -- a term invoked b y Ice-T’s character.
“I’m sick of hearing people call opinionated conservatives ‘gimmicks,’" McHenry said. "There is no shortage of flamboyant voices on the left. But because there are so few prominent, vocal women on the Right, they all get compared to each other and trivialized. In reality, outside of the social media echo chamber, women who are vocal for the right get far more praise than critics depict.”
Media analyst Jeffrey McCall said that most prime-tiime TV viewers “tune in for entertainment” and to “narcotize themselves from the polarized world” in which we live.
“I think NBC is making a programming mistake by so blatantly trying to inject polarizing political content into an entertainment venue, particularly when the political leanings are so transparent,” McCall told Fox News.
He feels NBC's programmers might have tried too hard to be "relevant" in the current political landscape but instead “probably just offends many right-leaning viewers.”
“I see nothing wrong with trying to be culturally relevant in prime time television, but it is really tricky to do it in a sophisticated and nuanced manner,” McCall said.
In an analysis of the episode, Media Research Center’s Lindsay Kornick wrote, “There doesn't seem to be much empathy for this particular sex assault victim,”