De Pasquale: Judd Apatow’s Random Acts of Outrage

AP Photo
AP Photo

A few days ago, director and Hollywood darling Judd Apatow went on a Twitter rant against Bill Cosby. The Washington Post wrote, “Apatow’s outspokenness is rare among entertainment industry figures, who have remained largely silent on the allegations that have swirled around Cosby for years but have reached a fever pitch over the last several months.”

Yes, how very brave of Apatow to take to Twitter for his random act of outrage. I assume we’ll see a similar outcry against Roman Polanski, who actually has been convicted of crimes, any day now. As far-fetched as that is, it’s even more unlikely that you’ll hear anything but praise for his pal Lena Dunham.

Like many in Hollywood, Apatow’s outrage is reserved only for those who are unconnected to his career or who have already been demonized by the media. It’s not particularly brave to speak out against someone when the media is running interference for you. While Apatow railed against Sony for (temporarily) pulling The Interview, he urged Canadian theaters to pull Cosby’s performances from their schedules. The driving principle shouldn’t be whom Apatow thinks deserves an audience, but whether a business is free to make market-based decisions on featuring that work rather than giving into the whims of people with their own agendas and biases. That’s not to say that business shouldn’t be free from being criticized for those decisions.

The problem with Apatow’s appetite for outrage is that it’s selective and unprincipled. He’s the executive producer of Lena Dunham’s HBO show, Girls, but doesn’t demand truth and accountability from her.

In addition to Dunham’s admissions about her behavior with her sister, new evidence suggests that she changed the story of a sexual encounter at Oberlin College into a rape committed by a Republican – two details that Gawker includes in a defense of Dunham. Those details were different in her book proposal.

Where is Apatow? Is he not outraged by Dunham’s behavior against her sister or nonchalance when it comes to rape accusations in order to sell books?

While Dunham’s story of rape “collapses under scrutiny,” Apatow’s need for truth collapses when it affects his pockets. I doubt he would be as understanding of those who want Dunham’s book pulled from the shelves or show pulled from HBO.’s Robby Soave wrote, “Given all these reasonable assumptions, Barry [the name Dunham uses in her book for the alleged rapist] is very probably a composite character, or a specific character whose key traits—like his party affiliation—were altered to make a more convenient villain.”

Despite the elitist media’s glowing reviews and profiles of Apatow and Dunham’s works, they are not brave for their random acts of outrage. They live in a bubble that’s free from criticism thanks to parroting the narratives accepted by the media. Of all the people who read Dunham’s book before it was published, none were “brave” enough to question her behavior with her sister or the story of Barry.

While it’s not breaking news that Hollywood darlings like Apatow are hypocrites, it’s still worth exposing. As the saying goes, sunlight is the best disinfectant.


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