An episode of Fox’s “Glee” focused on a school shooting has angered family members of Sandy Hook victims and activists in Newtown, Conn.
The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports that the volunteer group Newtown Action Alliance, formed after the Sandy Hook massacre, put up a warning message on its Facebook page in advance of the episode, which aired last night.
The message urged people not to watch the episode, adding: "I would suggest if you do watch this TV show to either not watch it tonight or watch with caution.”
THR notes: “The Newtown-based volunteer group posted a message shortly afterward explaining that the suggestion was meant for town residents, not the wider world.”
The group’s post also said: "So, Glee is really going there … and we are interested in your feedback. What do you think about this? Does it further the gun debate? Do you think the episode was timed to coincide with the events happening right now in Washington? Is it just a sensationalist attempt at ratings? Are you planning on watching it?"
A Sandy Hook parent also opened up about the episode. “Andrew Paley, whose two sons survived the Sandy Hook massacre, slammed the show on Facebook for going forward with the shooting story line while the community is still healing from the events of Dec. 14,” THR reports.
Paley wrote: "Those of us with kids that survived the shooting do not need to watch this episode. It’s too soon as our kids and our own wounds are still too new. I understand keeping it in the minds of the Nation but dammit, at least let the people of Newtown know before hand. I found out because an old friend who blogs about the show [gave] me a heads up. The producers should be ashamed to not think of us and how we’d feel if we just happened to be watching."
Paley appeared today on CNN to reinforce his objections to Fox’s action. "We have no problem, at least the parents I’ve spoken to, that they aired an episode that had a school shooting,” he said. “It’s reality. It happened here. It happened at Columbine. … What’s really upsetting is that no one, none of the producers, reached out to the town of Newtown to let us residents who were so close to this episode know … ."
THR adds: “The award-winning series’ latest socially relevant episode, called ‘Shooting Star,’ opened with a parental guidance warning. It shows members of New Directions hiding in a classroom after hearing gunshots in the hallway; there were no injuries but the harrowing experience left students shaken and cost Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) her job.”
The story line is expected to continue through the last four episodes of the show’s current fourth season, the piece notes.