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'American Horror Story' Re-Edits Mass Shooting Scene Out of Respect for Las Vegas Victims

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At the New Yorker Fest panel on Saturday, “American Horror Story” producer and show runner Ryan Murphy shared the show decided to re-edit a mass shooting scene from an unreleased episode of the the latest season, “Cult.” Murphy’s decision to keep most of the violence off camera was made out of respect for victims of the Las Vegas massacre last week.

He told the panel:

Should you air it? Should you not air it? How do you be sensitive? My point of view was I believe I have the right to air it, but I also believe in victims’ rights, and I believe that now is probably 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 or make them feel upset. So our decision was to re-edit it and I felt that that was the right move.

Though the word “trigger” has been politicized in recent timesaccording to PsychCentral, “trigger is something that sets off a memory tape or flashback transporting the person back to the event of her/his original trauma.”

The National Center for PTSD reports about 28 percent of victims exposed to a mass shooting may develop post-traumatic stress disorder and about 33 percent may develop acute stress disorder.

The season, which follows Kai Anderson’s (Evan Peters) rise to power as a cult leader and Ally Mayfair-Richards’ (Sarah Paulson) worsening anxiety and phobia symptoms, has already been difficult to watch for some viewers. Mighty contributor Charity Kennedy Bixler wrote the new season has her a “little on edge,” and shared five things to keep in mind if you have anxiety and watch the show.

In addition to re-editing the not-yet-aired episode, each episode consistently begins with a content warning, stating it is recommended for mature audiences and warning viewers of violent and sexual content.

Of the editing, Murphy said, “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.”

“American Horror Story: Cult” airs on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. (ET) on FX.

Photo via “American Horror Story” Facebook page.

Originally published: October 9, 2017
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