The Hunting Ground: ‘No Insensitive Questions’ 

“We don’t operate the same way as journalists — this is a film project very much in the corner of advocacy for victims, so there would be no insensitive questions or the need to get the perpetrator’s side” — THG co-producer Amy Herdy

The Hunting Ground, a film about campus sexual assault, purports to be a factual documentary. In truth, The Hunting Ground is misleading and dishonest. Relying on the testimonies of dozens of young women across the country, the movie promotes an over-wrought “rape-culture” narrative.

Moviegoers weren’t impressed — the movie received a rating of only 6.2 out of 10 stars. During its four-month box office run, the total revenues were only $405,000.  Clearly, The Hunting Ground  never lived up to its expectation of becoming a “stirring call to action.” Worse, the movie has served to discredit legitimate efforts to curb campus rape.

Nineteen Harvard University professors have denounced the film as “propaganda” that is “one-sided” and “biased.” The Hunting Ground assaults the truth in six ways:

  1. Makes the claim that up to one-in-five college women are sexually assaulted, even though the U.S. Department of Justice reports a woman’s risk is less than one percent (0.61%) each year.
  2. Features three women whose claims of sexual assault were later discredited:
    • Kamilah Willingham of Harvard University, who claimed she had been sexually assaulted after a night of drinking. Willingham was later found to have fabricated evidence — a bloody condom that did not match the DNA of the alleged assailant. Her assailant’s only “crime” was to wake her up the next morning in order to kiss her. More information on the case can be seen HERE.
    • Erica Kinsman of Florida State University, who was later found to have “overwhelming, well-documented credibility problems,” and who has been sued for allegedly seeking to extract a $7 million settlement from NFL top draft pick Jameis Winston.
    • Emma Sulkowicz of Columbia University whose alleged assailant was repeatedly found “not responsible” by the university’s disciplinary committee. Sulkowicz’s account has been found to lack credibility, and her alleged assailant has filed a lawsuit against the university.
  3. Highlights the testimony of psychologist David Lisak, who has promoted the claim that 90% of campus rapes are committed by serial offenders who average six rapes each. But it turns out his research is deeply flawedLisak’s 2002 article does not indicate whether the victims were enrolled in college, or even whether the assault took place on a college campus.
  4. Repeatedly omits the word “alleged,” thus confusing an accusation of sexual assault with a proven case. The producers did not offer a meaningful opportunity for the accused to respond to the charges, as any fair-minded documentary would do.
  5. Does not interview any men falsely accused of rape, and neglects to highlight the growing number of lawsuits filed against universities charging wrongful expulsion.
  6. Claims that only 2-8% of rape allegations are false, neglecting to mention the study that found 41% of campus rape claims were false. And fails to highlight the large number of unsubstantiated rape cases — 52% in one recent study — where there isn’t enough evidence to determine either way whether or not the allegation is true.

To its credit, The Hunting Ground does highlight how universities are doing a woeful job in handling felony-level sexual assault cases. Unfortunately, the producers do not take the logical step of calling for these cases to be turned over to criminal justice authorities.

EDITORIALS

  1. Blake Neff: Professors Threatened With Investigation For Questioning Rape Documentary – Dec. 14
  2. David French: Campus Rape Radicals Threaten Dissenters, Disregard Due Process – Dec. 14
  3. Scott Greenfield: The Emerging Backlash in Academia – Dec. 6
  4. Paul Horwitz: A Brief Update on the “Movie Night” Post – Dec. 5
  5. Greg Piper: Harvard law professors’ criticism of ‘The Hunting Ground’ violates Title IX, filmmakers suggest – Dec. 4
  6. College Fix: Counsel for accused student in ‘The Hunting Ground’ launches website to challenge the documentary – Dec. 3
  7. Robby Soave: One Year After Rolling Stone’s UVA Rape Debacle, Fabulists Still Fool the Media – Dec. 1
  8. Robby Soave: Activists Might Be Gearing Up to Sic the Title IX Inquisition on The Hunting Ground’s Critics – Dec. 1
  9. Pierce Harlan: “The Hunting Ground:” An Extremist Propaganda Film Aimed at Eradicating Due Process – Nov. 29
  10. Charlie Nash: Rolling Stone Part II? CNN Broadcasts Controversial Campus Rape Documentary – Nov. 25
  11. Jesse Singal: The Hunting Ground Uses a Striking Statistic About Campus Rape That’s Almost Certainly False – Nov. 23
  12. COTWA: CNN Aired The Hunting Ground Last Night: Impressions of an Atrocity – Nov. 23
  13. Charlotte Hays: Yep, CNN Went Right Ahead and Aired a College Rape Film that Rests on Almost Certainly False “Facts” – Nov. 23
  14. Robby Soave: How The Hunting Ground Spreads Myths About Campus Rape – Nov. 20
  15. Eriq Gardner: NFL Star Sends Legal Threat to CNN Over Rape Movie ‘The Hunting Ground  – Nov. 20
  16. Ashe Schow: More problems with a famous campus sexual assault study – Nov. 20
  17. Linda LeFauvre: The Misleading Video Interview With a Rapist at the Heart of the Campus Sexual Assault Freakout – Nov. 20
  18. Ashe Schow: ‘The Hunting Ground’ director claims film is ‘completely accurate,’ despite inaccuracies – Nov. 20
  19. COTWA: Harvard law profs point out the evidence doesn’t support accusations in “The Hunting Ground,” the filmmakers accuse them of hating women– Nov. 19
  20. Ashe Schow: The Hunting Ground’ crew caught editing Wikipedia to make facts conform to film – Nov. 19
  21. Tina Daunt: CNN Defends Campus Rape Movie That Its College Critics Call “Inaccurate,” “Misleading” – Nov. 17
  22. COTWA: CNN to air rape “documentary” that takes the side of accusers and smears the presumptively innocent– Nov. 17
  23. Ashe Schow: FSU president calls out ‘The Hunting Ground’ propaganda – Nov. 16
  24. Stuart Taylor: A Smoking-Gun E-mail Exposes the Bias of The Hunting Ground – Nov. 16
  25. Alex Morey: Harvard Professors Denounce ‘The Hunting Ground’ as ‘Misleading,’ ‘Propaganda – Nov. 12
  26. Asche Schow: The Continuing Collapse of ‘The Hunting Ground,’ A Campus Sexual Assault Propaganda Film – June 3
  27. Emily Yoffe: How The Hunting Ground Blurs the Truth – June 1
  28. Wendy McElroy: The Hunting Ground:’ Reaping Profit from Rape Hysteria –  March 26
  29. Ivan Levingston: Film ‘The Hunting Ground’ Misrepresents Harvard Sexual Assault Statistics – March 26
  30. Blake Neff: CNN’s New Rape Documentary Relies On Myths, Not Facts – March 19
  31. Stuart Taylor: The Cinematic Railroading of Jameis Winston – March 12
  32. Ashe Schow: The Other Side of the Campus Sexual Assault Equation – March 5
  33. Jake New: Documentary on Campus Sexual Assault Drops Claim – March 2
  34. Emily Yoffe: The Failures of a New Documentary about Rape on College Campuses – Feb. 27

VIDEOS

SAVE has produced two videos on the factual errors and omissions of The Hunting Ground: