Sunday, March 8, 2020

Busy Philipps vs. ‘Unplanned’ – How Pop Culture Treats Pro-Life Messages

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The team behind 2019’s “Unplanned” missed awards season by a country mile.

The indie film over-performed at the box office but critics savaged the drama, in part, for its pro-life messaging.

So Team “Unplanned” savored its three nominations from the Movieguide Awards, a Christian-themed ceremony self-described as “Recognizing the Good in Hollywood.”

Only those watching this year’s gala on Hallmark Drama didn’t realize “Unplanned” earned any nominations at all. The channel’s broadcast edited the movie’s name out of the list of nominees.

Three times.

Imagine an Oscars ceremony, or any awards event, doing the same.

Compare this to the media reception actress and pro-abortion activist Busy Philipps earned this week. The “Cougar Town” alum told a pro-choice throng that she credited her show business success to the abortion she had at the age of 15.

“And I have all of this, all of it, because, because, because, I was allowed bodily autonomy at 15!” the actress said.

“I will not be shamed into being quiet,” the 40-year-old continued. “We will not be shamed into being quiet. Never again! I will never stop talking about my abortion, or my periods, or my experiences in childbirth, my episiotomies, my yeast infections, or my ovulation that lines up with the moon!”

Will Phillips lose any jobs for her pro-abortion rant? Did major media outlets refuse to cover her comments?

No, and no, and that’s a good thing, of course. She should say whatever she wants to say, and people can consider her comments accordingly.

Still, the double standards regarding abortion in the culture can be sizable – consider how little interest the media shows in the annual March for Life compared to far smaller protests.

This week showcased how it’s even more apparent in pop culture.

The story behind the “Unplanned” debacle didn’t start with the recent Movieguide Awards broadcast, though.

The film faced obstacles few movies do prior to its release. TV channels turned down its commercial. Music publishers refused to allow their songs to be heard in the film. The MPAA slapped the film with an “R” rating despite content that hardly merited that warning. Google briefly dubbed the film “propaganda.” Twitter yanked the film’s official account for several hours during the film’s all-important opening weekend.

Now this. reports both Movieguide and Hallmark Drama might deserve blame for editing the movie out of the broadcast, which “Unplanned” star Ashley Bratcher sounded the alarm about on Twitter.

Ted Baehr, the founder and publisher of Movieguide, told the site his company turned the three and a half hour gala into a 42-minute long show for Hallmark Drama. Baehr added Movieguide, not Hallmark Drama, decided to remove any mention of “Unplanned” during that shortened version.

“We made some decisions. We may have made some wrong decisions, but we’ve made decisions,” Baehr told the site.

Yet Movieguide President and COO Robby Baehr told LifeSiteNews his team’s editor simply followed orders from Hallmark.

“[The editor] would never have had any power to do anything without their direction,” Robby Baehr said. “All final creative approval was done by Hallmark and not Movieguide or its editor Jeremy Carroll.”

Thanks, in part, to Bratcher bringing attention to the matter, Hallmark Drama will re-air the ceremony at 10 p.m. EST March 9 with “Unplanned” inserted back into the nominees.

Both Hallmark and Ted Baehr apologized to the filmmakers and Bratcher. The actress took the high road following the drama, sharing a statement on the matter with this reporter.

“I believe that when apologies are made and mistakes are corrected, it’s best to extend grace and move forward. I’m grateful to the people who helped our voice be heard, and I hope everyone will show their support by tuning in to watch the show on Monday or stream it on the app.”

Meanwhile, the very same week of both the Movieguide debacle and Philipps’ rant, a new abortion-themed movie trailer dropped. “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” hitting select theaters March 13, also tackles the abortion issue.

Here’s the official description from Focus Features:

The film is an intimate portrayal of two teenage girls in rural Pennsylvania. Faced with an unintended pregnancy and a lack of local support, Autumn (Sidney Flanigan) and her cousin Skylar (Talia Ryder) embark across state lines to New York City on a fraught journey of friendship, bravery and compassion.

The film’s festival run earned the movie a 100 percent “fresh” rating at cheered the fact that the MPAA gave the movie a less restrictive PG-13 rating.

Entertainment Weekly called the movie an “urgent, extraordinary film for this very moment.”

Should “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” generate awards season love come December, chances are every awards show will say its name sans hesitation.

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