The Washington Post raised eyebrows on Thursday with a piece calling on Hollywood to no longer produce TV shows and movies about police amid the George Floyd protests.
Police across the country have under intense scrutiny following the death of George Floyd. And while many A-listers have expressed solidary with the Black Lives Matter movement, Post opinion writer Alyssa Rosenberg insisted that executives who run the industry can go even further.
"Like many other industries, entertainment companies have issued statements of support for the protests against racism and police brutality now filling America’s streets. But there’s something Hollywood can do to put its money where its social media posts are: immediately halt production on cop shows and movies and rethink the stories it tells about policing in America," Rosenberg began her column.
Despite acknowledging the entertainment value of police-centered plots, Rosenberg argued that the result is "an addiction to stories that portray police departments as more effective than they actually are; crime as more prevalent than it actually is; and police use of force as consistently justified," suggesting that "fantasy" is more like "complicity" in police brutality.
"There’s no question that it would be costly for networks and studios to walk away from the police genre entirely. Canceling Dick Wolf’s 'Chicago' franchise of shows would wipe out an entire night of NBC’s prime-time programming; dropping 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit' and a planned spinoff would cut even further into the lineup," Rosenberg admitted. "But the gap between what some companies and executives have promised this week and what they have done in the past cannot be ignored... simply canceling cop shows and movies would be easier than uprooting the assumptions at the heart of the problem."
Rosenberg went on to praise the NBC sitcom "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," calling it "the closest thing to a reformist police show right now" since it "alternates explorations of the policies and identity politics of the New York Police Department with fantastic gags and one-liners." And it noted how it took until the end of the FX series "The Shield" to depict the apparently realness of the police force.
"It takes seven seasons to even achieve that much on 'The Shield.' It’s been almost six years since Michael Brown was shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Mo., and no one can be blamed for feeling like national reform has moved at a similarly petty pace. If the entertainment industry truly believes change can no longer wait, it should start with its own storytelling," Rosenberg concluded.
Critics blasted the idea of ridding such entertainment, one even declaring "we live in Wokistan now."
"If police shows and movies cause police brutality, do video games and rap music cause anti-police violence?" Ben Shapiro asked.
"This has gone from 'here is a serious issue we need to address' to we need to demonize whole groups of people based in their occupation and immediately shut down any type of speech that we don’t like," conservative commentator AG Hamilton reacted.
"My kid will be pissed. He used to love Paw Patrol," radio host Lou Merloni tweeted.