A recent review by Rolling Stone attacked the anti-trafficking drama Sound of Freedom, dismissing concerns about the global child sex trade as a “delusion.”
Rolling Stone’s Miles Klee attended a packed matinee showing Sound of Freedom, starring Jim Caviezel, and walked away from the experience by suggesting attendees were “QAnon” supporters. Klee (pictured, right) panned the film, calling it a “hackneyed white savior narrative” and scoffing at the “white-haired” audience who enjoyed it.
“[T]his crowd, I could tell, would view the events depicted over the next two-plus hours as entirely literal,” Klee wrote of Sound of Freedom moviegoers in his op-ed, before claiming the film “fetishiz[es] the torture of its child victims.”
The Rolling Stone writer also attacked the movie’s star, writing that Caviezel “has become a prominent figure on the conspiracist right, giving speeches and interviews in which he hints at an underground holy war between patriots and a sinister legion of evildoers who are harvesting the blood of children.”
Klee blasted Caviezel for promoting the film with a “grossly exaggerated” picture of the global trafficking industry, lamenting that he “primed the public to accept Sound of Freedom as a documentary rather than delusion by fomenting moral panic for years over this grossly exaggerated ‘epidemic’ of child sex-trafficking,”
“Here, [Caviezel] gets to act out some of that drama by playing a fictionalized version of Tim Ballard, head of the anti-sex trafficking nonprofit Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.), in a feature film that casts the operator as a Batman-style savior for kids sold into the sex trade,” he added.
Klee then took aim at the crowd who enjoyed the film as he seethed in the theater: “The mostly white-haired audience around me could be relied on to gasp, moan in pity, mutter condemnations, applaud, and bellow ‘Amen!’ at moments of righteous fury, as when Ballard declares that ‘God’s children are not for sale.'”
The Rolling Stone writer wrapped up by lamenting over Sound of Freedom viewers wanting “to spread the word” about child sex trafficking, taking attention away from the issues that Klee finds worthy of Americans’ moral outrage.
“There is visible suffering all around us in America,” he wrote. “There are poor and unhoused, and people brutalized or killed by police. There are mass shootings, lack of healthcare, climate disasters.”
“And yet, over and over, the far right turns to these sordid fantasies about godless monsters hurting children,” he added, comparing current attention to this issue with “the 1980s Satanic panic.”
“To know thousands of adults will absorb Sound of Freedom, this vigilante fever dream, and come away thinking themselves better informed on a hidden civilizational crisis… well, it’s profoundly depressing. Worse still, they’ll want to spread the word,” Klee concluded.