There has been an unofficial boycott of M. Night Shyamalan’s films going on for over a decade on grounds of taste. The director of The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable has had a rough time of things of late with his more recent movies Lady in the Water, The Happening, The Last Airbender, and After Earth all bombing.
Therefore the last thing he needs is 10,000 social justice warriors coming together and telling people not to see his new movie — but that is exactly what has happened.
A petition on the Care2 social networking protest website to boycott his new movie Split has amassed more than 10,000 signatures with people upset by the fact that the film’s plot revolves around a man with 24 different “split” personalities, known as dissociative identity disorder, who kidnaps teenage girls. At least one of his personalities causes him to wear a dress with heels.
Cue accusations that M. Night Shyamalan is being “transphobic” and disrespectful to the LGBTQ community. The petition headlined, “Boycott Split for it’s backwards representations of gender identity and mental illness!” is written by Sarah Rose, who appears not to have seen the movie and calls its lead actor James McAvoy “Kevin McAvoy.” She states, “At one point during the trailer for the film, McAvoy’s character is also wearing a dress and heels.
“This isn’t the first time a movie has invoked society’s transphobic values in an attempt to scare audiences — consider Norman Bates in Psycho and Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs. Moviemakers like M. Night would do well to move past this tired and offensive trope.
“This entire film is problematic in it’s narrative. At a time when so much attention is being paid to mental illness and gender identity, we’ve reduced both conversations to a horror movie trope. As both an advocate for the LGBTQ community and someone whose life has been profoundly impacted by mental illness in those close to me, I find this film and it’s subject matter impossible to support.”
Apparently the movie has a genius twist ending that M. Night used to specialize in — though these days the twist will be if people end up seeing the movie despite the best intentions of 10,000 people on the internet.
— Trace Thurman (@TracedThurman) September 27, 2016