A piece published by Time raised eyebrows after calling for a cultural reckoning of how superheroes are depicted amid the national dialogue that has cracked down on how TV shows and films portray police and law enforcement.
Time writer Eliana Dockterman began the piece -- titled "We're Re-examining How We Portray Cops Onscreen. Now It's Time to Talk About Superheroes" -- by noting the recent cancellations of "Cops" and "Live PD" following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and how even "Paw Patrol" has become a target.
"But as we engage in this long overdue conversation about law enforcement, it’s high time we also talk about the most popular characters in film, the ones who decide the parameters of justice and often enact them with violence: superheroes," Dockterman wrote Monday.
She described superheroes as "cops with capes who enact justice with their powers" who are usually "straight, white men who either function as an extension of a broken U.S. justice system or as vigilantes without any checks on their powers."
"When Batman ignores orders and goes rogue, there’s no oversight committee to assess whether Bruce Wayne’s biases influence who he brings to justice and how. Heroes like Iron Man occasionally feel guilt about the casualties they inflict, but ultimately empower themselves again and again to draw those moral lines," Dockterman said.
The Time writer blamed superhero creators being white men behind how very few films "reckon with issues of systemic racism -- let alone sexism, homophobia, transphobia and other forms of bigotry embedded in the justice system or the inherent biases these superheroes might carry with them as they patrol the streets, or the universe."
She cited the "Blade" films, "Black Panther" and "Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse" as examples fo superhero flicks that do a better job at elevating the conversation, and praised "Watchmen" for directly engaging with "corruption in policing," noting how the recent HBO miniseries tackles the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and the white nationalist terrorist organization that served as the antagonist.
"If Hollywood is to do better in telling these stories, more creators of color need to be given the reins to tell them," Dockterman said.
She added: "Only when this creative freedom is encouraged and Hollywood offers more opportunities to BIPOC creators -- and white creators use their capital to support creators who are too often overlooked -- will we get more superhero tales that adequately grapple with the complexity of justice in America."
Critics took to Twitter to pan the piece.
"GTFO," Ben Shapiro wrote.
"Superheroes are canceled!" Human Events managing editor Ian Miles Cheong tweeted.
"Did the Joker write this?" Daily Wire contributor Harry Khachatrian asked.
"America is finally addressing the important questions," podcast host Jamie Weinstein said.