In the days following the horrifying and tragic events in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, American Horror Story creator and showrunner Ryan Murphy has responded to the concerns that an upcoming episode of AHS: Cult would be too insensitive to viewers. While little is known about the plot of the episode, reports indicate that the episode included a scene involving a mass shooting. Murphy took time during a New Yorker Festival panel discussion to address concerns about the episode and clarify how he handled it and why he did what he did.
Murphy first noted that the episode would still include the shooting (one might imagine this would be for the sake of continuity), but he said, “I just made the decision that I’m going to have all of that violence be shown for the most part off camera.” He also stated that the shooting in the context of the episode, which he acknowledged to originally have been a very graphic scene, had an instructive purpose as well as act as a warning to viewers. “It was meant to be an obvious anti-gun warning about society,” he told those in attendance at the panel.
He did acknowledge that the timing factored into the episode’s re-edit and coupled with the subject matter, he knew it was best to just refocus the episode. “[P]robably now is not the week to have something explosive or incendiary in the culture because someone who was affected might watch that and it could trigger something,” he stated, adding, “Nobody ever talks about victims’ rights. That’s sort of a weird emotional discussion that’s never bridged. But I felt great sympathy for people who were affected, certainly, and family members and loved ones and people who are upset about the way the world is.”
It’s certainly good to know that Murphy thought about the concerns of others and took special measures to make sure that even if AHS: Cult‘s upcoming episode is scary, it won’t be triggering to viewers.