Hollywood can’t stop giving Ryan Murphy TV shows, but his latest project is getting pushback, and for good reason.
In a new interview with The New Yorker‘s Emily Nussbaum, the Glee and American Horror Story creator claims his next project is tentatively titled Consent, and it’s possibly part of the American Crime Story franchise. According to the story, “It would follow a Black Mirror model: every episode would explore a different story, starting with an insidery account of the Weinstein Company. There would be an episode about Kevin Spacey, one about an ambiguous he-said-she-said encounter. Each episode could have a different creator.”
While TV shows and movies have already started being critiqued and headlined for their #MeToo message, the idea that a man would actually create a show around women’s abuse, pain, and trauma was not met with the praise Murphy might have been looking for. People called out his history of using the assault of women as part of the narrative in AHS, and called for women to be involved in the making of the series if it does actually happen.
faced with revelations of widespread sexual harassment and assault in their industry, the men of hollywood ask: how can we turn our female colleagues’ pain into profits? https://t.co/4w5AFVYoDh
— Amanda Hess (@amandahess) May 8, 2018
Thank god this story is in the hands of a capable feminist man. What could go wrong. https://t.co/nfJflcmve8
— Rebecca Traister (@rtraister) May 8, 2018
— 𝚑𝚒𝚜𝚙𝚊𝚗𝚒𝚌 𝚙𝚒𝚡𝚒𝚎 𝚍𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚖 𝚐𝚒𝚛𝚕 (@mathewrodriguez) May 7, 2018
Moreover, I don't watch Ryan Murphy's shows (the only one I did was 2-3 seasons was Glee), but a number of people have pointed out that his work often uses women's pain—particularly sexual violence against women—as plot devices for shock value. Red flag if I ever saw one.
— Lily Herman (@lkherman) May 8, 2018
BuzzFeed writer Alison Willmore tweeted about Murphy’s relationship with the press and response to criticism, and the passive-aggressiveness that seems to be leveled at critics. The New Yorker article described how he approached one critic for her critique of Feud.
As someone who's been the target of some very minor Ryan Murphy wrath and who knows writers who've dealt with worse, I find his relationship with press so fascinating/disturbing, esp given he used to be an entertainment journalist himself https://t.co/m8b4wNlE51 pic.twitter.com/PaemFOsH2Q
— Alison Willmore (@alisonwillmore) May 7, 2018
Further compounding this potential project is Murphy’s response in the article to allegations close to home. Asked about Ronan Farrow’s December New York Times piece about Harvey Weinstein’s “complicity machine,” which mentioned one of Murphy’s agents, Bryan Lourd, Murphy said, “I’m loyal to my friends” and that he didn’t think one of his agents would have been part of that machine. He also shrugged off the troubles that followed many of his Glee stars: “It’s sad, but it’s also Hollywood.”
Murphy, who more recently created a TV show about 911 calls, is gearing up for Netflix run, so this project could end up there. Murphy’s response to criticism and being “misunderstood” is a bit troubling, but he also backed off a proposed Monica Lewinsky American Crime Story after realizing that she should be the one telling the story. Maybe that will translate here.