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VARIETY: Woke Festivals Punish ‘Problematic’ Films

Are journalists waking up to the free speech threat posed by Identity Politics?

The Hollywood press is as relentlessly biased against conservatives as NPR, The New York Times and similar outlets.

It’s worse than that, though.

Entertainment reporters have either stood on the sidelines as the woke revolution swept through Hollywood or actively cheered on free speech suppression. Just consider how sites like TheWrap.com, Variety and The Hollywood Reporter frame speech-related narratives.

Then, count up the number of impassioned op-eds defending the right of comedians to tell their jokes, their way. Good look finding any.

Yet the case of Meg Smaker’s “Jihad Rehab” suggests liberal Hollywood reporters are waking up to the horror of woke groupthink.


The UnRedacted(Jihad Rehab) Official Trailer

The film follows four Guantanamo Bay detainees as they struggle to re-enter society. The film earned a coveted slot at the Sundance Film Festival last year and review accolades before the woke Left pounced.

Critics complained a white woman like Smaker had no business directing a film about Muslim culture, ignoring Smaker’s extensive ties to the Arab world. Others said the film could put the participants in danger even though they were informed about the film’s content and had the ability to decline Smaker’s invitation.

Many critics hadn’t even seen the film but still attempted to silence it.

The fallout from that embarrassing spectacle, which included Team Sundance apologizing for showing the film last year, is ongoing. Yet several liberal news outlets, including The Atlantic and The New York Times, covered the cancellation with a palpable sense of outrage.


Variety has a new story looking at how film festivals now avoid “problematic” films. The festival circuit is supposed to be a place where artists can speak freely, explore challenging topics and engage the public without worrying about box office numbers.

Today’s festivals steer clear of films that might provoke a minority of the woke brigade.

Now, everything is being placed under a “microscope of scrutiny,” says veteran film finance attorney Marc Simon, who observes: “These are complicated times.”

…In fact, that quick-to-capitulate reflex underscores a new, unspoken modus operandi in which festivals — once the bastion of provocative, button-pushing fare — are desperate to avoid controversy and the wrath of any identity-focused Twitter mob.

The story focuses on Terracino, a gay filmmaker whose latest film, “Waking Up Dead,” got rejected by multiple festivals, including gay-friendly galas which previously embraced his work.

Waking Up Dead - Official Trailer (2022) | LGBT | Comedy | Drama | Breaking Glass Pictures

It’s not an accident, Terracino says.

The director claims some were offended that his film’s gay lead held transphobic views at first, and that the character “bonds with a white woman.”

“Here I am, a gay Latino filmmaker, and I have to answer about bull**** racial politics?”

Similarly “problematic” films are a non-starter for many festivals today, we’re told. Terracino warns his fellow liberals about the endgame behind the raging culture wars.

“I think a lot of artists of color very soon are going to regret this woke ideology,” Terracino says.

Will Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and other entertainment news outlets follow suit? The Variety story on festivals, plus recent free speech-friendly coverage of “Jihad Rehab,” suggest they might.

One Comment

  1. “Are journalists waking up to the free speech threat posed by Identity Politics?”

    Since “journalists” are the ones leading the mob, I’d say “No”.

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