‘Our Movie Heroes Are Grievance Collectors’: Bill Maher Berates Woke Hollywood on Gun Violence

Photo from “Real Time with Bill Maher” Instagram

‘Our Movie Heroes Are Grievance Collectors’: Bill Maher Berates Woke Hollywood on Gun Violence

By Movieguide® Contributor

Comedian Bill Maher delivered a stinging rebuke to Hollywood last week on his show REAL TIME for the entertainment industry’s influence on gun violence despite frequent cries to “do something.”

“When liberals scream, ‘Do something!’ after a mass shooting, why aren’t we also dealing with the fact that the average American kid sees 200,000 acts of violence on screens before the age of 18 and that, according to the FBI, one of the warning signs of a potential school shooter is ‘a fascination with violence-filled entertainment?’” questioned Maher.

Movieguide® frequently discusses the detrimental effects entertainment violence has on children. “The power of modeling, practice and reinforcement in human learning predict that media violence increases the likelihood of real-life violence,” Dr. Baehr writes in The Media-Wise Family.

Maher notes Hollywood’s woke agenda, citing intimacy coordinators, sensitivity readers and Disney’s stance against the “Don’t Say Gay” law in Florida as examples. “But when it comes to the unbridled romanticization of gun violence, crickets,” Maher states. “Weird. The only thing we don’t call a trigger is the one that actually has a trigger.”

Entertainment gun violence is typically one aspect that drives a mass shooter because many action movies offer guns as a solution to life’s problems. Instead of action movies, however, Maher believes these should be called “revenge movies.”  

“Like every school shooter, our movie heroes are grievance collectors,” Maher explains. “There’s a sick similarity in the revenge fantasies Hollywood turns out and those of school shooters.” Maher believes that revenge-based movies create a culture of justified violence.

Numerous studies indicate a connection between television violence and real world violence. “The cumulative effect of all these studies indicates a statistically significant connection between watching violence on television and behaving aggressively,” says Dr. Baehr. 

While Maher is not calling for the censorship of these types of movies, he urges his viewers to understand the impact of violent entertainment. “Don’t look me in the eye and tell me this isn’t a big part of the problem,” says Maher. “Every bad idea a kid can get about how to handle feeling abused and disrespected is in all these movies.”

Movieguide® has previously reported on gun violence in entertainment: 

When shooters attack, the nation sits seemingly dumbfounded that another senseless tragedy has taken the lives of loved ones. While some people turn to prayer and others to gun control talking points, the answer could be found in research about how violence in the mass media has drastic effects on those who consume it.

Violence in media has a profound effect on the people who watch it, as Movieguide® Publisher Dr. Ted Baehr discusses in his book, The Culture-Wise Family.

“The power of modeling, practice and reinforcement in human learning predict that media violence increases the likelihood of real-life violence,” Baehr writes.

“There have been hundreds of thousands of psychiatric, psychological, sociological, pediatric, and medical studies researching the effects of the mass media on behavior, including laboratory experiments, field experiments, correlational studies, and longitudinal studies. So much research has been conducted in this area that one United States senator said that the influence of the mass media on violent behavior is now irrefutable,” Baehr continues.

According to Baehr, mass media violence is that violence portrayed by any of the methods of mass communication, including television, movies, video games, toys that are mass produced, comic books, the Internet, CDs, CD-ROMs, DVDs, and computers. Most of the research has to do with television, movies and pornographic materials.

“Using deductive reasoning, researchers posit the basic principles of human learning and then see if any of them predict a causal relation. Using inductive reasoning, researchers study the real-life behavior of a person after that person has been exposed to a measurable degree of excessive violence, pornography or another media influence,” Baehr writes.

This has proven to be true in the case of Atlanta shooter Robert Aaron Long. Long’s former roommate said that Long suffered from a sex addiction and felt immense shame about his pornography addiction.

Baehr’s research included reporting on a study where researchers at the University of California projected that “depictions of pornography and violence. . . have the greatest impact on persons already predisposed to favorable attitudes about sexual violence, or who have very poorly formed attitudes, such as adolescents or school-age children.”[ii]

Furthermore, Baehr saw that an FBI study of 36 sexual murderers (sadomasochists) reveals that 82% of them reported “daydreaming and compulsive masturbation” in childhood and adolescence. [iii] These behaviors are obviously encouraged by pornography, which was their highest sexual interest.

These studies prove, unfortunately so, the importance of media discernment in everything we consume. Gun control will not solve issues with mass shootings — only a nation on its knees in repentance can begin to repair the damage. Teaching our children to hold a Christian/biblical worldview will lessen these tragedies as they grow in media wisdom.