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The recent tragedy in Las Vegas has caused shockwaves through the nation. Now, the event is causing one popular television show to rethink a major scene in an upcoming episode. American Horror Story: Cult was set to have a scene in this Tuesday's episode that included a mass shooting. Now, while the event will still take place in the episode, AHS creator Ryan Murphy says the scene has been edited to remove most of the onscreen violence. According to Murphy...
My point of view was I believe I have the right to air it, but I also believe in victims' rights, and I believe that now is probably not the week to have something explosive or incendiary in the culture because someone who was affected might watch that and it could trigger something or make them feel upset. So our decision was to re-edit it and I felt that that was the right move.
Ryan Murphy explained his decision, during a recent New Yorker festival (via The Hollywood Reporter), to shift most of the violence in the sequence off-screen, rather than show it all during the episode set to air this week. The episode had been originally filmed last month, and the editing had already been done, but Murphy clearly felt that he had a responsibility to go back and make changes following the events of one week ago.
Apparently, the violence of the scene was quite graphic originally, an intentional decision by Ryan Murphy at the time, in part specifically to show the horrors of gun violence. However, ultimately he decided that this wasn't the time for such a display.
This is, unfortunately, not the first time that decisions like this have had to be made regarding television shows. In the past, we've seen shows get delayed because they were going to air too close to similar events and it was felt that it would be better to wait. The same choice could have been made here, but it seems that American Horror Story 's creator is trying to balance his own rights as a creator with those of his audience. Rather than putting off the episode, he's going to still air it, and technically the scene will still be there, a mass shooting will still take place within the context of the show, but nobody will have to witness it.
Ryan Murphy has never been afraid to dabble with controversy. His work on American Horror Story as well as lighter shows like Glee have occasionally dealt with controversial topics, but in this case it seems that AHS will err on the side of caution, which is probably a welcome decision for any fans of the show who might want to get lost in an hour of television and escape from reality.