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Makers of The Hunting Ground Are in Denial About Their Film’s Flaws

'There is no controversy'

“There is no controversy.” This lengthy interview with The Hunting Ground producers Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick could be distilled to that one line—a line the filmmakers desperately insist upon over and over again.

The interviewer, Robert Scheer, outs himself as both an unabashed admirer of their point of view and as someone who doesn’t believe what critics (at Reason, presumably) are saying about the film’s reliance on flawed statistics and dishonest sources. But he’s forced to confront the controversy—the one the filmmakers deny is a thing—anyway, not because he accepts it, but because so many other people are beginning to.

Eventually, an exasperated Ziering gave the following response:

No, I think [the film] is provocative and threatening because it puts limits on men's entitlement to a woman's body. Honestly, profoundly and deep down, it's when you said -- you know, it's interesting; we didn't get the same backlash with the military that we've gotten with this film. And when you look at why is that, or if you, you know, sort of dig deep and question, the military -- the critique is of a male population in the military, whereas the critique of our film is of a white, middle-class or upper-class, privileged male population. And so now you're seeing, suddenly it's a controversy; suddenly there's a problem with the statistics. No problem with statistics when it's about serial predators in the military. Suddenly now there's, you know, a fake -- you know, and this whole even -- I'm so irritated, like really, we're spending 40 minutes talking about a controversy? There's no controversy. It's like talking about climate change and controversy right now. It's exactly analogous. But what you're hearing is this backlash because there's a threat to the dominant white male power. That's the deep-down thing, and that's why all these sort of crazy, hysterical articles; that's why a crazy reaction from Harvard Law professors; this is nothing -- all we have is a film in which people are going forward to report a crime, and most of the time they're only going forward to report a crime because someone committed it to someone else! So this is not about any kind of glory -- I wish -- I've got better things to do with my time than run around talking about fake [accusations]! This is happening, it's a horrible thing; there's no controversy; let's just get busy worrying about the problem!

Emphasis mine. Is it any wonder a documentary filmmaker with that perspective produced something so one-sided?

Meanwhile, Variety’s Ella Taylor put The Hunting Ground on her “empty prestige” list for 2015:

Speaking of shoddy journalism, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has succumbed without a murmur to “The Hunting Ground,” placing on its documentary feature shortlist a loaded piece of agitprop that plays fast and loose with statistics and our sympathy with victims of campus sexual assault. With death-defying leaps of logic on the basis of skimpy and distorted evidence, Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering’s film does violence to both the legitimate fight for women’s rights and the honorable cause of advocacy filmmaking.

I guess Taylor is just doing her part to defend white male dominance—alongside Emily Yoffe, Jeannie Suk, Martha MacCallum, Ashe Schow, and all the other influential women who don’t completely buy The Hunting Ground’s narrative.

Photo Credit: The Hunting Ground

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    There is no controversy.

    The science of campus rape is settled.

  • Enough About Palin||

    It's like talking about climate change and controversy right now. It's exactly analogous.

    They're certainly right about that!

  • ||

    Ok, this can't be the official New Years thread. Still, no Trump...

  • ||

    Those poor filmmakers. The lag time of making a film for jumping on a social panic trend was just too long, and they missed the optimal window for exploitation of the panic. It's such a shame. All that hard work.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Well, oh great wizard, tell us, what's the next social crisis? I have a camera and want to get in at the ground floor. Microaggressions still in play?

  • Mr Lizard||

    You know who else was a great wizard?...

  • NYC2AZ||

    Gandalf?

  • Ted S.||

    Frank Morgan?

  • Notorious UGCC||

  • Pathogen||

    Kazaam? Shazam?

  • GILMORE™||

  • ||

    Microaggressions still in play?

    Don't be gauche, FoE. We're well past that. Next is macroaggressions. YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Well, I just can't keep up, I guess. At least my acid washed jeans will never go out of style.

  • Trigger Warning||

    ...in Canada.

  • Brian||

    The ad wizards really fucked up when they labeled "micro aggression."

    They were going for the whole "You're being racist/sexist, and you don't even know it!" angle.

    And they didn't fully appreciate how that comes off as "I can find the slightest bit of racism/sexism in everything!"

    Yeah, I think we can tell where the real problem is. Thanks.

  • ||

    Why do you hate these aspiring artists? It's obvious that we have to make the appreciation of the artists products mandatory. You're looking at a hate crime, mister!

  • ||

    Why do you hate these aspiring artists? It's obvious that we have to make the appreciation of the artists products mandatory. You're looking at a hate crime, mister!

  • ||

    Fuck a you skorrels!

  • ||

    Remarkable. Ziering's response combines a girly way of taking - the perfect stereotype - with girly outrage (same) - and feminist talking points. It's cute, dissonant, and problematic.

  • GILMORE™||

    Ugh, its like attempted rape but with words, like climate change. So typical mansplain i can't even.

  • Jimbo||

    You fucking Misogynist! How do you live with yourself!?

  • Mr Lizard||

    ALL WHITE BIPEDS MUST TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR ONE POPULAR BIPED

    http://www.latimes.com/politic.....story.html

    #greenlivesdominate

  • ||

    Hey, Dexter Thomas, like, who cut your hair man? Your mum?

  • Notorious UGCC||

    It's time for all black people to take responsibility for that hairstyle.

  • GILMORE™||

    "He has written for several outlets internationally on topics as diverse as Internet and youth culture, social justice and video games.'

    Check out the big brain on Dexter. He has a PhD in fucking "internet jibber jabber"

  • Entelechy||

    " the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has succumbed without a murmur... placing on its documentary feature shortlist a loaded piece of agitprop that plays fast and loose with statistics and our sympathy"

    Does this mean an Oscar for Naomi Oreskes?

  • Brochettaward||

    the critique is of a male population in the military, whereas the critique of our film is of a white, middle-class or upper-class, privileged male population. And so now you're seeing, suddenly it's a controversy; suddenly there's a problem with the statistics. No problem with statistics when it's about serial predators in the military.

    I, for one, most definitely did call bullshit on those statistics used to drum up fear over sexual predators in the military. I've taken those moronic surveys myself. I've seen others take them. They are a joke, and they were misrepresented by those who had this agenda.

    That the media let that shit go without a peep was a disgrace.

  • Pathogen||

    Shhh.. You'll spoil the surprise..

  • Steve G||

    This. I've commanded two units in the military and headed off to run another one this summer. I have yet to see this epidemic of SA in the military. I think one reason these filmmakers use the military as evidence of their claims is that dissent or even mild questioning about the 'problem' is not entertained/tolerated.

  • MacDaddy81||

    My experience as well. Got so damn tired of SHARP training.

  • NYC2AZ||

    Kirby is a dick.

  • Brian||

    "But what you're hearing is this backlash because there's a threat to the dominant white male power."

    Can these people even take themselves seriously?

    Yes, going after frat boys is really taking it to the white male patriarchy.

    Let's find the youngest, least powerful group of white males which we can pretend have some modicum of power (compared only to high school drop outs and white boys who can't go to college), really stick it to them, and then we'll claim to be taking on the white cisgender hetero patriarchy.

    Next, they'll go after the plutocracy that is American society, with a documentary that takes down life insurance salesmen.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    The minute they go after the "dominant white male power" in their own industry is when I'll take those kinds of claims seriously. You could probably do a 20-part, 2-hr/episode series on sexual abuse in the entertainment industry.

  • Brian||

    I am almost absolutely sure that no young actresses are ever offered chances to advance their film careers through blowjobs.

  • Lord at War||

    I'm absolutely sure that none of the actresses brought it up first...

  • Brochettaward||

    There's a number of males who only made it because they sucked a little dick. Those stories tend to die ignominious deaths.

  • Ms. Eleanor Lavish||

    I'm in favor of destroying dominant white male power(DWMP). Of course, DWMP is possessed and exercised by our elites/establishment institutions who themselves are in favor of destroying DWMP. I don't see a problem here unless you think poor/working class/middle class white boys, who aren't represented at elite institutions, are part of the privileged class - they aren't.

    Look, shitlords, get with the program. Become a feminist, pay the tax and you will be absorbed into the greater other.

  • Social Justice is neither||

    They get one thing right in their defense, it is exactly like global warming and the related controversy.

    Leftists lie about their chosen subject only to get called out on it so they double down on lying.

  • Akira||

    Am I the only one who actually enjoys the ramblings of the spambot?

  • Marty Comanche||

    In fairness, he's dead on about Slappy Jo Jo.

  • guitargeek||

    He's actually one of my favorite commenters.

  • Calidissident||

    Aren't two of the guys these people accuse of being rapists black?

  • Deli-bro||

    No you don't understand. The only reason they talked about the black rapists is because of institutional racism. You see? These racist institutions are going after these young black men. The fact there arent many white rapists in this documentary is because they used their privilege to get away with it. The lack of evidence of white male campus rapists is evidence of the white male patriarchy.

  • buybuydandavis||

    The science is settled!

  • TBlakely||

    Since when does facts or reality for that matter trump the 'narrative'? If you disagree with the 'narrative', you are a reactionary and should be purged.

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