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Judd Apatow, Shonda Rhimes, Mark Ruffalo Sign Petition Asking for “Mindful” On-Screen Gun Use [UPDATE]

"We are asking writers, directors, and producers to be mindful of on-screen gun violence"

shonda rhimes judd apatow mark ruffalo gun petition hollywood open letter safety violence
Judd Apatow (photo by Heather Kaplan), Shonda Rhimes (photo by Sarah E. Freeman), and Mark Ruffalo (photo by Gage Skidmore)
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    Judd Apatow, Shonda Rhimes, and Mark Ruffalo are among the first round of celebrity signatories on a petition calling for Hollywood to be “mindful of on-screen gun violence” in the wake of the recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas.

    Amy Schumer, Jimmy Kimmel, Damon Lindelof, and Adam McKay have also signed the petition, titled “Open Letter to Our Colleagues in the Creative Community.” The letter isn’t aimed at Washington lawmakers, and it doesn’t request that gun violence be banned from the screen altogether. Instead, it asks for directors, writers, and producers to put more consideration into how they portray gun violence in their projects.

    The petition is led by Hollywood activists Christy Callahan, co-chair of of the Brady United Against Gun Violence organization’s Regional Leadership Council, and Robert Bowers Disney. “Like most of America, we are enraged by the recent mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde,” the statement reads. “Considering there have been over 250 other mass shootings so far this year, it’s an almost incomprehensible tragedy. Something needs to be done.”

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    Among other things, the letter asks for depictions of responsible gun ownership, showing consequences when guns are used recklessly, and limitations on scenes involving children and guns. The letter continues: “We are under no illusions that these actions are a substitute for common sense gun legislation. Furthermore, this list does not incorporate every nuance of guns on screen. However, these are small things that we can do as a community to try and end this national nightmare.”

    You can see the full list of over 200 signatures here, and read the full petition text below.

    Matthew McConaughey, Stevie Nicks, Jon Voight, and Jack White are just a few other celebrities who have also recently made public demands for stronger safety measures involving guns.

    An Open Letter to Our Colleagues in the Creative Community

    Like most of America, we are enraged by the recent mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde. Considering there have been over 250 other mass shootings so far this year, it’s an almost incomprehensible tragedy. Something needs to be done.

    Guns are prominently featured in TV and movies in every corner of the globe, but only America has a gun violence epidemic. The responsibility lies with lax gun laws supported by those politicians more afraid of losing power than saving lives. We didn’t cause the problem, but we want to help fix it.

    As America’s storytellers, our goal is primarily to entertain, but we also acknowledge that stories have the power to effect change. Cultural attitudes toward smoking, drunk driving, seatbelts and marriage equality have all evolved due in large part to movies’ and TV’s influence. It’s time to take on gun safety.

    We are not asking anyone to stop showing guns on screen. We are asking writers, directors and producers to be mindful of on-screen gun violence and model gun safety best practices. Let’s use our collective power for good. Whenever possible, we will:

    Use our creativity to model responsible gun ownership and show consequences for reckless gun use. We will make a conscious effort to show characters locking their guns safely and making them inaccessible to children.

    Have at least one conversation during pre-production regarding the way guns will be portrayed on screen and consider alternatives that could be employed without sacrificing narrative integrity.

    Limit scenes including children and guns, bearing in mind that guns are now the leading cause of death for children and adolescents.

    We are under no illusions that these actions are a substitute for common sense gun legislation. Furthermore, this list does not incorporate every nuance of guns on screen. However, these are small things that we can do as a community to try and end this national nightmare. If you are a writer, director or producer, join us by signing here.

    Correction: An earlier version of this story included Eli’s Roth name as one of the signers. Although his name was included in early drafts, he ultimately did not agree to sign the letter.

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