The premiere of the movie â€œParental Guidanceâ€ â€” a Christmas family comedy starring Bette Midler and Billy Crystal â€” was canceled last weekend in the wake of the Connecticut school shootings. But the stars of the movie disagree on how much responsibility the entertainment industry bears when it comes to violent incidents such as this.
Billy Crystal told ABC News that movie violence is always blamed â€” incorrectly â€” whenever something like this occurs.
â€œThis happens every time something awful happens, and people start pointing fingers, and I donâ€™t agree,â€ he said. â€œThis was a sick, young man and thereâ€™s no explaining that.
â€œYou can start pointing fingers here, [and] you could start pointing fingers at â€˜Why were there so many guns in the house?â€™ People should just stop pointing fingers and start saying, â€˜How could we heal ourselves? How can we prevent these things?â€™â€ he said.
In Crystalâ€™s mind, if any product of the entertainment industry could lead to violence, itâ€™s video games, not films.
â€œThereâ€™s such a glorification of that, where they actually vibrate in your hands as youâ€™re blowing people away, and it reinforces this â€˜That was funâ€™ [attitude],â€ he said. â€œAnd then suddenlyâ€¦ if you get in the wrong mind, thatâ€™s in there more than watching some movie.â€
His co-star Midler disagreed that violent movies donâ€™t contribute to the ills of our society.
â€œSometimes I want to tear my hair out at what Hollywood makes and has done to the whole world, has given to the whole world, and what America has given to the whole world,â€ she told ABC News. â€œI think this tidal wave of [Hollywood] violence, Iâ€™m not sure it begets more violence, but what if it does? Then what are we doing to our own kids?â€
Midler said we need to reevaluate whether violence-driven entertainment is worthwhile at all.
â€œI mean, come on, is this really culture? Is this high-minded?â€ she asked. â€œIs this gonna be inspirational? Whatâ€™s it going to inspire us to? Because thatâ€™s what cultureâ€™s supposed to do. Itâ€™s supposed to inspire you to do, to something, to a higher ground. Not to the gutter.â€