Does Hollywood Really Care? 1 Week, 129 Televised Acts of Violence Against Women

Hollywood’s domestic violence lectures fall flat, as primetime is rife with violence against women.

●     Hollywood Hypocrisy: Celebrities claim they care about protecting women. Then TV networks assault the American public with hour after hour of violent programming depicting women on the receiving end of 129 violent acts in the very week where they make that claim.

●     My Bloody Valentine: The week before Valentine’s Day, network TV served up 10 separate murders of women from gunshot wounds to agonizing death at the hands of powerful evil magic.

●     The Real War on Women: News outlets criticize the right for alleged attacks on women. In reality, liberal Hollywood is home for incredibly violent and shocking depictions of violence against women. 


Hollywood wants people to think it really cares about violence against women. From a Presidential PSA against domestic violence during this year’s Grammy Awards, to a new drama on NBC called, “The Slap,” Hollywood has made it a priority to remind the public, violence against women is a serious issue. 

The problem is, it’s just lip service. Because Hollywood sells violence against women as entertainment on practically every drama on network television. 

That is not an exaggeration. In one week, there were 129 acts of violence against women depicted on television. Women were punched, grabbed, thrown, tossed down stairs and shot at. Guns were put to their heads, their necks were snapped, they were run over by cars and crushed by evil magic that made their eyes bleed. All in the name of “drama.” 

For an industry that claims to be against violence and presents itself as champions of women, Hollywood’s messaging clearly does not match it’s programming. 

The Media Research Center’s Culture department watched an entire week of network TV on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and the CW -- from Monday, Feb. 2, through Sunday, Feb. 8. The results were especially alarming, given Hollywood’s attempts to curtail violence against women. 

Teen Entertainment Often Most Violent 

CW shows like “The Originals,” and “The 100” were among the worst studied. Perhaps this was the teen-oriented network’s attempt to match the graphic violence on HBO’s “True Blood.” Vampires, witches and werewolves on the two CW shows committed more graphic acts of violence than even shown in crime shows like “NCIS” and “The Mentalist.” 

One young woman in "The Originals" had her head bashed into a table repeatedly. Another was beaten with a fireplace poker and third was killed graphically by a witch who made the victim’s eyes bleed. 

In an episode recap on CW’s “The 100,” a girl is shown strapped to a table screaming while a drill goes through the back of her head. During the episode, young women were shown trapped in cages to be used for medical experiments. 

Torture and graphic violence is not just exclusive to the CW. On Fox’s “Sleepy Hollow,” there were nine shocking acts of violence against female characters in just one episode. Those included: a warlock boiling a woman’s blood inside her body; another woman being assaulted, stabbed and killed; and female witches shown being hanged and suspended upside down until their eyes bled. 

Violence against women was even deployed as humor. The CW’s “Jane the Virgin” scares viewers with a prank where a woman is kidnapped and her throat is slit, complete with fake blood. Then “acid” is poured on the woman’s mother-in-law. 

Other disturbing incidents of violence involved a woman’s young daughter being threatened with a knife to her throat, twice, while she lay in bed on ABC’s “Scandal”; and little girls being trained to kill each other, with one girl snapping another’s neck in ABC’s “Agent Carter.” 

While Hollywood bemoans domestic violence and gun violence, it certainly has no trouble promoting it. In 2013, MRC Culture found that there were 65 violent scenes with 185 victims in the 5 top grossing box office movies for the weekend of Jan. 11. 

Earlier this year, actors Daniel Craig and Steve Carell told audiences in a White House-issued anti-violence campaign, “We have a big problem” and “we have to stop [violence against women].” During the Grammy’s PSA, Obama told the Hollywood audience “we can change our culture for the better, by ending violence against women and girls.” Isn’t it about time that Hollywood start taking it’s own advice and stop using violence against women as a form of entertainment? 

Methodology: MRC Culture examined 56 hours of primetime television over a seven-day period, Monday Feb. 2- Sunday, Feb. 8. That covered 65 television shows that played in the 8-11 p.m. time period. Only scripted, fictional broadcast television was counted. Reality television, movies, sports and award ceremonies were not studied. Self-inflicted violence and “comical” violence was not included in the total. Repeats during the same week were not counted.

— Kristine Marsh is Staff Writer for MRC Culture at the Media Research Center. Follow Kristine Marsh on Twitter.