Ann Hornaday responds to Seth Rogen, Judd Apatow criticism

Ann Hornaday
Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday.
(Larry French / Getty Images)

Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday, whose recent column linking the movies of Seth Rogen and Judd Apatow to the Isla Vista slayings drew rebukes from both men, responded to the controversy Tuesday afternoon with another column and accompanying video.

“In singling out ‘Neighbors’ [which stars Rogen] and Judd Apatow, I by no means meant to cast blame on those movies or Judd Apatow’s work for this heinous action — obviously not,” Hornaday says in the two-and-a-half-minute video. “But I do think, again, it bears all of us asking what the costs are of having such a narrow range of stories that we constantly go back to.”

In her previous column published Sunday, Hornaday criticized Hollywood for catering to male fantasies of “vigilantism and sexual wish-fulfillment.” She wrote that Elliot Rodger’s rampage, which left six dead and 13 others injured and culminated in his suicide, “may be a function of his own profound distress, but it also shows how a sexist movie monoculture can be toxic for women and men alike.”

On Twitter, Rogen called the original column “horribly insulting and misinformed,” and Apatow wrote, “She [Hornaday] uses tragedy to promote herself with idiotic thoughts.”


In her video, Hornaday says, “I certainly understand why Seth Rogen and Judd Apatow might feel defensive because I did single them out.” But, she says, “As a film critic, what I wanted to do was think about what echoes we heard from the larger culture and maybe pose some questions that might be useful. At least judging from my inbox today, a lot of people do think that those are questions worth asking.”

The controversy provided a rare example of engagement between a filmmaker and a critic (albeit of the charged kind).

Still, from the looks of his Twitter page, Apatow appears eager to put the row behind him. On Wednesday, seemingly in response to the controversy, he wrote, “Every word written about this nonsense with me takes up space that could be used to discuss the real issues and possible solutions.”

Only good movies

Get the Indie Focus newsletter, Mark Olsen's weekly guide to the world of cinema.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.