Michael Calleri worked for seven years as a film critic for The Niagara Falls Reporter in Buffalo. That all ended in shocking fashion a few months ago, after the Reporter changed hands and a new publisher and editor-in-chief decided that the paper would no longer publish reviews of movies that featured what he described as "moral rot." In the course of dismissing Calleri, the publisher sent him a lengthy email outlining his reasons for refusing to print reviews of movies that "offend" him, specifically in their depictions of strong and powerful women. Last week, Calleri published that email, along with his comments on his career and the transformation of the Reporter, at Roger Ebert's Far-Flung Correspondents website. A sample of some of the publisher's most jaw-dropping statements:
"i have a deep moral objection to publishing reviews of films that offend me. snow white and the huntsman is such a film… snow white and the huntsman is trash. moral garbage. a lot of fuzzy feminist thinking and pandering to creepy hollywood mores produced by metrosexual imbeciles.
I don't want to publish reviews of films where women are alpha and men are beta.
where women are heroes and villains and men are just lesser versions or shadows of females.
i believe in manliness.
not even on the web would i want to attach my name to snow white and the huntsman except to deconstruct its moral rot and its appeal to unmanly perfidious creeps…
with all the publications in the world who glorify what i find offensive, it should not be hard for you to publish your reviews with any number of these.
they seem to like critiques from an artistic standpoint without a word about the moral turpitude seeping into the consciousness of young people who go to watch such things as snow white and get indoctrinated to the hollywood agenda of glorifying degenerate power women and promoting as natural the weakling, hyena -like men, cum eunuchs.
the male as lesser in courage strength and power than the female.
it may be ok for some but it is not my kind of manliness…
it is my opinion that hollywood has robbed america of its manliness and made us a nation of eunuchs who lacking all manliness welcome in the coming police state."
The Reporter's publisher, Frank Parlato, responded to the article in the comments section of the Far-Flung Correspondents website, saying he stood behind what he wrote but also insisting that Calleri jumped to "several hasty conclusions" about his beliefs. Here, he clarifies:
"I might remind the reader that the email does not say I would not consider reviews of films where men and women are both shown in an inspiring light. I am simply not interested in films that demean men. I am also uninterested in reviews of films that demean women.
I did not say that women should have less courage or strength than a man. I merely said I do not have an interest in publishing reviews of films that depict men as weaker, dumber, more cowardly or lower than women. In other words, no male bashing. And, consequently, no female bashing.
Violence, vulgarity, gender bashing, moronic sex acts on the screen, racial bashing, violent women, violent men, promiscuous men and women are the common fare of Hollywood fed not only to adults but to young people.
I mean who but a moron would want his young children watching the kind of filth and violence shown (and gleefully reviewed) by Hollywood every day?
I have no interest in reviewing such movies."
Now Parlato claims he's against both male and female bashing — although I have a hard time reconciling that with the part of the first email where he specifically demeans "feminist thinking" and "degenerate power women." Maybe my mind has been rotted by too many morally repugnant Hollywood movies.
Parlato's response to Calleri's piece trots out a generic family values defense of the initial email — but all the "common fare of Hollywood" he cites, except violence, I guess (PG-13 fantasy violence, at that) is missing from "Snow White and the Huntsman," and I've yet to meet anyone who would argue that the movie "depicts men as weaker, dumber, more cowardly or lower than women." It just shows women as strong as well. Which, I guess, is not very manly.
Given Parlato's response, I'll be curious to see whether the new Niagra Falls Reporter covers the film's proposed spinoff — featuring just the Huntsman and no Snow White. Then again, the spinoff isn't due for several years — by which point the "coming police state" may already be here. So, it's probably a moot point.
"Read more of "Reactionary Men Who Fear and Hate Strong Women."