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Universal Pictures cancels release of 'The Hunt' after Trump attacks 'racist' Hollywood

The film is a violent satire in which 'globalist elites' hunt red state Americans

Following days of controversy, partly fuelled by a tweet from US President Donald Trump, Universal Pictures has pulled the release of The Hunt.

The film, a violent satire about “globalist elites” stalking Trump supporters for sport, was due to be released on September 27 but a statement on the film's official website confirmed that, “the studio has decided to cancel our plans to release the film”.

The statement on the website appeared to allude to the recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, as the reason for pulling the film, which stars Hilary Swank and Betty Gilpin.

“We stand by our filmmakers and will continue to distribute films in partnership with bold and visionary creators, like those associated with this satirical social thriller,” the statement reads. “But we understand that now is not the right time to release the film.”

The news comes days after it was reported that television advertisements for The Hunt, which is produced by Blumhouse, were to be dropped by some broadcasters following the mass shootings. Universal confirmed that it was suspending marketing for the film, “out of sensitivity to the attention on the country’s recent shooting tragedies”.

The spotlight then intensified on The Hunt on Friday when Trump posted a tweet, thought to be in reference to the film, claiming that, “Liberal Hollywood is racist at the highest level, and with great anger and hate.”

He went on: “The like to call themselves ‘elite’, but they are not elite. In fact, it is often the people that they so strongly oppose that are actually the elite. The movie coming out is made in order to inflame and cause chaos.

“They create their own violence, and then try to blame others. They are the true racists, and very bad for our country.”

Trump continued this theme while talking to reporters on Friday. “Hollywood, I don’t call them the elites. I think the elites are the people they go after in many cases. But Hollywood is really terrible. What they’re doing, with the kind of movie they’re putting out, it’s actually very dangerous for our country. What Hollywood is doing is a tremendous disservice to our country.”

The film was originally called Red State Vs Blue State and follows a group of rural workers who wake up to discover that they are being hunted for sport by a liberal elite. The film’s trailer suggests that it is this liberal elite being satirised, however, rather than the blue-collar workers.

It has not yet been announced if The Hunt will be released at a later date but a studio source hinted to The Hollywood Reporter that the film is only being shelved for the time being.

“This was a decision that the studio came to with The Hunt filmmaking team,” the source said. “But ultimately it was about making the right decision, right now. It was a tough call for the company, but studio leadership, led by Donna Langley, all agreed that this film could wait.”

Updated: August 11, 2019 12:03 PM

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