The makers of the pro-life film “Unplanned” spoke out against the political biases of online media giants this week ahead of a White House summit about social media.
Co-writers/co-directors Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman talked with the Catholic News Service about the bias they experienced while trying to promote the film through major media outlets including Google and Twitter.
“Unplanned,” based on the true story of Planned Parenthood director-turned pro-life advocate Abby Johnson, received overwhelming support in American theaters this spring, despite the roadblocks. On July 12, it will begin playing in about two dozen theaters across Canada.
The filmmakers struggled to overcome numerous hurdles in publicizing the film, including being suspended on Twitter and having their ads rejected by major TV networks, including Lifetime, Hallmark Channel and HGTV. Google searches also initially labeled the film as “propaganda.”
Solomon and Konzelman said they hope the White House summit, slated for Thursday, will be a good opportunity to talk about the bias that conservative groups have experienced from some of the most powerful media companies in the world.
“I think it is an extension of back several months [being] called to testify before [U.S. Sen.] Ted Cruz subcommittee on questions of conservative thought,” Konzelman told CNS.
Solomon urged people to continue praying for the situation.
“The Lord is doing mighty work here. The forces against us are trying to prevent that mighty work. People should pray, fast and do penance, because this message needs to get out,” Solomon said. “People will be accorded blessings for fighting this fight and we ask everyone out there to continue to pray. We are taking this out to the nations and we need help.”
The filmmakers continue to face obstacles in Canada, where the film is scheduled to open later this week. They said some theater employees are receiving violent threats from abortion activists over the film. Two theaters canceled their showings of “Unplanned” after receiving death threats, and others plan to hire extra security, according to the report.
“I think it is straight out of fascism 101 playbook,” Konzelman told CNS. “Pro-choice advocates claim we are creating a dangerous environment for abortion supporters. Meanwhile they have created death threats to the point that two theaters have pulled out of exhibition, one has hired security, one has said they won’t pick it up. … They create this controversy and blame the victim.”
To find out which Canadian theaters are screening “Unplanned,” visit UnplannedFilm.com.
For years, pro-life leaders have suspected that internet giants like YouTube, Google, Facebook and Twitter are quietly censoring pro-life content. Earlier this summer, a whistleblower at Pinterest produced evidence of the company censoring the pro-life group Live Action by listing it with pornography sites.
Live Action has said Twitter repeatedly censored its ads. Founder Lila Rose said the social media site blocked their ability to advertise and told them to change information on their websites if they want to start advertising again. In 2015, Facebook also refused to allow Live Action to advertise one of its stories because “the image or video thumbnail may shock or evoke a negative response from viewers.” The image was of baby Eli Thompson who was born without a nose.
Facebook became a subject of national controversy in 2016 after some of its workers admitted that they suppressed conservative news stories in favor of liberal ones. LifeNews.com, which is the leading pro-life news website on the Internet and the only one specifically devoted to pro-life issues, has long believed that Facebook has been suppressing its traffic.