In the wake of last Sunday’s mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas that left 59 concertgoers dead, Ryan Murphy has confirmed that he has edited out the violent visuals in this week’s episode of American Horror Story: Cult.
“I just made the decision that I’m going to have all of that violence be shown for the most part off camera,” Murphy revealed at The New Yorker Festival on Saturday.
Murphy admitted that he struggled with the decision to rework the locked episode. “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,” he explained. “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.”
EW previously reported that next week’s episode of AHS was to open with a mass shooting, and FX declined to comment on the fate of the episode.
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This season, Cult follows a Trump supporter, Kai (Evan Peters), who leads a murderous group. Murphy also told moderator Emily Nussbaum that filming this season in the wake of such a surprising and contentious election cycle was “very interesting.”
“I had long wanted to do something about Charles Manson, and was very interested in the behavior of his followers,” he said, noting that there’s something fascinating and frightening about people blindly following figures who are “literally insane.”
“It upsets people,” said Murphy on the subject of the election, “I didn’t want to write about Trump, I didn’t want to write about Clinton. I wanted to write about both the people that surround them who have this belief system and when that belief system toppled.”
American Horror Story: Cult airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX.