HBO Is Still Defending The Violence Against Women In Its Shows

Photo courtesy HBO.
The shock and awe of Game of Thrones' sixth season seemed to have been enough to drown out the protests of its relentless violence against women, at least temporarily. But at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, the topic of rape reared its ugly head again during an HBO Q&A. This time, its upcoming series, Westworld, is making headlines with a rape scene and new network programming chief Casey Bloys was ready to defend it.

"For the Westworld pilot, the point in Westworld is they’re robots," he said, according to Entertainment Weekly. "How you treat a robot with human-like qualities? Is that reflective of how you would treat a human? It’s a little bit different than Game of Thrones, where it is human-on-human violence. But to your larger point: Is it something we think about? Yeah, I think the criticism is valid. I think it’s something that people take into account. It’s not something we’re wanting to highlight or trying to highlight, but I think the criticism is point taken on it."

A single plot-driven examination of the darkness of human nature is one thing, but HBO shows have made a habit of showing women being raped. The network's The Night Of is another example. When critics kept pushing Bloys on the matter, his argument was that HBO's series offered equal-opportunity violence.
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"No, you haven’t seen men being raped,” he said. “But the point I would make in Game of Thrones, for example, is men are castrated, a guy is fed a cake made of his sons. The violence is pretty extreme on all fronts. I take your point that, so far, there have not been any male rapes, but my point is the violence is spread equally.”

It's not our job, but maybe someone else at HBO can explain to Bloys why showing rape is different from showing murders, particularly in terms of its effect on viewers. For now, here's how he answered the question of whether men would also be raped on GoT (which, way to go there, intrepid reporter) by the end of the eighth and final season: "We’re going to kill everybody."
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