Last September, prolific documentarian Morgan Spurlock debuted his latest offering — a somewhat secret followup to his career-making “Super Size Me,” entitled “Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!” — at the Toronto International Film Festival. The documentary sequel followed Spurlock as he took on the so-called “Big Chicken” industry by starting his own chicken sandwich shop as a way to expose the myriad ways the industry tricks its customers into thinking its poultry is “natural” or “free-range.” The film included not just eye-opening information about the poultry industry at large, but on-the-ground inside looks at the work of some of the farmers who are negatively impacted by the multimillion-dollar industry.
The film was a hit at the festival, bolstered by appreciative audiences and the gimmicky use of a food truck that doled out Spurlock’s own tasty “Holy Chicken” sandwiches. YouTube Red picked up the film — for both streaming and theatrical rights — for a reported price of $3.5 million. Months later, Spurlock and his film were set for another starry premiere, as the film was due to screen at the Sundance Film Festival before its eventual release.
But in December of last year, deep in the early weeks of the #MeToo movement, Spurlock revealed in a confessional post that a woman he slept with in college “believed she was raped” and that he realized he was “part of the problem.”
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Within days, Spurlock had resigned from his Warrior Poets production company, his former partners pulled “Holy Chicken” from Sundance, and YouTube announced that it would not release the film. In the months following Spurlock’s confession and the film’s subsequent dropping by YouTube, the ultimate fate of “Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!” has hung in the balance. Business Insider recently dug deep to suss out the current status of the film’s release.
The outlet contacted YouTube about the release status of “Super Size Me 2” and reports that “a spokeswoman sent the same statement it made in December following Spurlock’s tweet: ‘We feel for all the women impacted by the statements made by Morgan Spurlock. In light of this situation, we have decided not to distribute ‘Super Size Me 2″ on YouTube Red.'”
The outlet also added that, “according to numerous sources, Spurlock has reclaimed the rights to ‘Super Size Me 2’ from YouTube but people close to the movie say there are no current plans on how (or if) it will ever be released.” Spurlock did not provide a comment to Business Insider.
But that’s hardly the end of it. Business Insider also spoke with one of the farmers who appears in the film, Charles Morris, who is desperate to see the film released. Morris told the outlet that Spurlock never contacted him about the axed release plan, but he still believes the film is an essential and urgent look inside his industry.
“I’m going to be honest, I feel like I’ve been let down,” Morris told Business Insider. “I had 10 farmers come up to my house and we had a link to the movie and I showed it to them and everyone just loved it. They were so excited it was coming out. If it were me, I would call you up and say, ‘Hey, I screwed up.’ I would tell you what’s going to happen.”
Business Insider also reports that Morris is “single-handedly trying to get the movie out to the public. The farmer told Business Insider he has tried numerous times to contact YouTube since the company announced it was pulling the movie. He wants to see if the site would be interested in selling the movie to him.”
“We can mortgage everything we got and buy the rights,” Morris told the outlet. “I want it to come out, and not for me but for every chicken farmer in America. It needs to be seen. This is not about Morgan Spurlock, this is about the industry and us farmers and how we’re being treated.” Morris said he has yet to receive a response from YouTube.