Two days after the sixth season premiere of Sons of Anarchy attracted big headlines and impressive ratings for FX, creator Kurt Sutter found himself on the defensive Thursday after the Parents Television Council took issue with his controversial decision to depict a school shooting.
The organization singled out the episode – which was meant to set up a tragic arc involving the Sons and their perilous decision to traffic in guns – as a reason why consumers should be able to choose which cable nets they pay for under the proposed TV Consumer Freedom Act. “What FX chose to show – a scene of a young boy murdering innocent children in a school with a semi-automatic gun – is enough of a reason for consumers to have the choice not to underwrite such horrifically violent and disturbing material. Think about the parents who have been personally affected by real-life school shootings – even they were forced to contribute to FX on their cable bills. This is an outrage, and the time for consumers to have real choice has come,” said PTC President Tim Winter in a statement. “Changing the channel is simply not enough – that’s a lazy excuse from the cable industry’s own talking points that does not address the real problem.”
The SOA creator, who talked extensively to EW about why he decided to depict such a horrific event, turned to his WTFSutter platform on You Tube Thursday to voice his response.
“I would imagine these are not evil people,” Sutter says. ” But they are just not very intuitive or intelligent individuals. It’s such a small and simple view of process. The fact that people want to be monitoring what my children watch is terrifying. There is no awareness of what is the bigger objective of that episodes, the bigger point of the narrative. And to me that’s a really simplistic, dangerous view of anything, never mind the creative process.
“Whenever that stuff crosses the line into censorship, it’s just scary … not just on a creative level but a personal level,” he continues. “There are some people who have a deep amount of sensitivity toward the idea of a school shooting and how painful that is, and what I’m about to say will probably sound somewhat callous and I don’t mean it to … I trying to be thoughtful. But for me, I’m a storyteller. I’m not a social guru, I’m not a guy with an agenda politically, socially or morally. I’m a f—ing storyteller. My job is to engage, entertain and perhaps make you think. That’s what I do on a daily basis. I’m blessed that I have a God-given gift to do so, and to bring you along for the ride. When anybody tries to take that away from me, or impede that, I get defensive. I take that to heart.”
To hear his full statement, check out the video below:
Meanwhile, FX – which sees a significant boost in DVR usage for all of its shows – expects SOA’s premiere episode to rank as the top-rated single telecast in the cable net’s history. The episode and its encore runs attracted more than 8 million viewers.