Brow Beat

Trump Tries to Ignite Culture War Over Movie No One Has Even Seen Yet

Donald Trump makes the OK sign.
President Donald Trump at the White House on Friday.
Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images

If you are among the masochistic individuals who still put time into reading the president’s tweets, you might have noticed Donald Trump ranting Friday about a mysterious new threat emanating from “Liberal Hollywood” in the form of an upcoming movie that threatens to “inflame and cause chaos,” spreading violence and racism across the land.

It seems Trump got wind of The Hunt, an exploitation thriller in which wealthy “elites” hunt “normal folks” from states such as Wyoming, Mississippi, and Florida for sport, and refer to those targets as “deplorables”—basically a rural version of The Purge. Trump lumped the issue in a long rambling speech to the press Friday:

Hollywood, I don’t call them the elites, I think the elites are people they go after in many cases. But Hollywood is really terrible. You talk about racist? Hollywood is racist. What they’re doing with the kind of movies that they’re putting out is actually very dangerous to our country. What Hollywood is doing is a tremendous disservice to our country. We have now, in a little while, all of the heads of the biggest companies coming in. And we’re going to talk to them. They treat conservatives, Republicans totally different than they treat others. And they can’t do that.

Why did the president even start caring about the movie now? Well, after Universal Pictures decided to pull advertising for The Hunt following the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, Fox News picked up the story on Tucker Carlson Tonight, where Brian Kilmeade was filling in after Carlson called white supremacy a “hoax” and “conspiracy theory” pushed by Democrats. Fox News ran with the story of The Hunt as an example of a “liberal twitterstorm fantasy” and “taking a cold civil war and making a hot civil war,” running multiple segments on the subject—even though no one has even seen it yet, because the film doesn’t come out until Sept. 27. It also seems unlikely that anyone in Hollywood would want to self-identify with The Hunt’s elites, as Trump claims they do, since they are almost certainly not the heroes.

Watch the trailer for The Hunt below:

Update, Aug. 10, 2019: Universal Pictures has canceled the release of The Hunt.