Sandy Hook Parents Unhappy Over 'Glee' School Shooting Storyline

The Hollywood Reporter's Erin Carlson reported that parent-activists in Newtown, Connecticut were unhappy that the Fox show "Glee" featured a school-shooting incident on Thursday night's episode.

Andrew Paley, whose two sons survived the Sandy Hook massacre, slammed the show on Facebook for going forward with the shooting story line while the community is still healing from the events of Dec. 14.

"Those of us with kids that survived the shooting do not need to watch this episode," he wrote. "It's too soon as our kids and our own wounds are still too new. I understand keeping it in the minds of the Nation but dammit, at least let the people of Newtown know before hand. I found out because an old friend who blogs about the show have me a heads up. The producers should be ashamed to not think of us and how we'd feel if we just happened to be watching."

Paley echoed that sentiment in a Friday morning appearance on CNN, arguing: "We have no problem, at least the parents I've spoken to, that they aired an episode that had a school shooting. It's reality. It happened here. It happened at Columbine. ... What's really upsetting is that no one, none of the producers, reached out to the town of Newtown to let us residents who were so close to this episode know ...."

Ahead of the episode's airing, a post on the Newtown Action Alliance's Facebook page urged people to avoid tuning in to the Ryan Murphy-created Fox dramedy. "I would suggest if you do watch this TV show to either not watch it tonight or watch with caution," the post read.

The Newtown-based volunteer group posted a message shortly afterward explaining that the suggestion was meant for town residents, not the wider world.

"So, Glee is really going there... and we are interested in your feedback," said the post. "What do you think about this? Does it further the gun debate? Do you think the episode was timed to coincide with the events happening right now in Washington? Is it just a sensationalist attempt at ratings? Are you planning on watching it?"

I would guess, in this case, it was both: Glee creator Ryan Murphy's a serious Obama backer (hosted a fundraiser last year), so he was hoping to help just as the Senate voted to move a gun-control bill, and he probably wanted a school-shooting storyline to shake things up and boost ratings.

The plotting was strange -- that Down syndrome student Becky would bring a gun to school and then mistakenly firing it in cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester's office. Then Sue covered up the whole story and said the gun was hers, and had to resign. Now why couldn't they just tell the truth? Too boring, apparently.
 

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis