By Joseph Wulfsohn
Published February 21, 2019
The writer/director of the upcoming "Ghostbusters" reboot is taking heat on social media for remarks he made that were interpreted by critics as a sexist attack on the 2016 female-led film in the franchise.
Jason Reitman, son of the original "Ghostbusters" writer/director Ivan Reitman, said on a recent episode of the Bill Burr Podcast that he didn’t want to make the “'Juno’ of 'Ghostbusters’ movies” and instead promised a “love letter” to the original franchise.
“I love this franchise. I grew up watching it. I consider myself the first a ‘Ghostbusters’ fan. I was like seven years old when that movie came out and I love it. I want to make a movie for my fellow ‘Ghostbusters’ fans,” Reitman told Burr. “We are, in every way, trying to go back to the original technique and hand the movie back to the fans.”
Those comments were seen by several critics as a jab at the female reboot that starred Kristen Wiig, Mellissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones.
"1) This is gross 2) I will never understand why--besides the culture-war angle--anyone was so invested in the sanctity of the original. It was freaking *Ghostbusters,* not the Sistine Chapel ceiling! It was... fine! The remake was... fine! 3) This is gross," wrote critic James Poniewozik.
"I had been looking forward to @JasonReitman’s take on GHOSTBUSTERS. Then he went and said that stupid s-- about “handing the movie back to the fans,” as if the female cast had stolen the original from our precious little boy memories or something," wrote Jamil Smith. "I’ll probably skip it now."
"Hi @JasonReitman! Can we have a chat about this little comment you made? Because let me tell you, hoo golly, does it not only completely disregard female fans of #Ghostbusters, it actively supports the behaviors of the festering open wounds known as Men Online," wrote Alicia Lutes in the first of a two-tweet thread. "Did you...ever actually read what people were saying? Did you actually dig into the history of abuse so many of these fanatically, irrationally angry men were throwing at women SIMPLY FOR BEING OKAY WITH SOMETHING EXISTING?? I'm serious, @JasonReitman. The abuse was insane."
"Fair or not, pointing to your most famous female-led movie (JUNO) as an example of how GHOSTBUSTERS won't be is, again intentional or not, a dog whistle to folks who want to hear that this new version will be a dude-bro nostalgia-fest," Scott Mendelson wrote in part of a lengthy thread.
"Bernie and a new Ghostbusters movie are two things I should be all about but their fans keep telling me I’m worthless so I’m gonna spend my money somewhere else..." wrote Jess McIntosh.
Others on Twitter mocked the outrage towards Reitman’s remarks.
"The people mad about this new Ghostbusters are WAY more mad than the people who were mad about the previous new Ghostbusters," wrote one user.
"If it’s just freaking Ghostbusters, then the hell do you care what he says or if they remake it again," wrote Stephen Miller.
"He means that the all female Ghostbusters was bad and annoying and he would prefer to make a movie that is neither of those things," wrote Matt Walsh.
Reitman himself took to Twitter shortly after the backlash began to clarify his statement and note that he did not intend to lambast the 2016 female-led "Ghostbusters" film from Paul Feig.
"Wo, that came out wrong! I have nothing but admiration for Paul and Leslie and Kate and Melissa and Kristen and the bravery with which they made Ghostbusters 2016. They expanded the universe and made an amazing movie!"