Analysis by WorldTribune Staff, July 20, 2023
Every tactic from the leftist playbook has failed to derail the box office juggernaut that is “Sound of Freedom”.
QAnon fiction about pedophile elites? Turns out the film was made years ago before QAnon was a thing after being blocked by a Hollywood establishment plagued by well known pedophile scandals.
The film which shines a spotlight on child-trafficking has surpassed the $100 million mark at the box office in less than three weeks.
Taking the cake in leftist opposition to the film starring Jim Caviezel, however, is Bloomberg’s publishing of an attack on “Sound of Freedom” by an individual who in the past has advocated for what many critics say is a pro-pedophile group, the Protasia Foundation.
Noah Berlatsky,who was the spokesperson for the Protasia Foundation in 2021, wrote in a July 15 op-ed that “Sound of Freedom” is a “QAnon dog whistle” that does “little to help victims” who are portrayed “as innocent and sympathetic as possible.”
Prostasia, a not-for profit organization, often refers to pedophiles as “minor attracted persons,” and holds a “support club” described as “a peer support chat for minor attracted people who are fundamentally against child sexual abuse and committed to never harm children, and is a safe space to have peer support in times of trouble.” The group is for those who are age 13 and up.
The Protasia Foundation said in a July 15 Facebook post: “Ballard, Caviezel, and others of their ilk had primed the public to accept Sound of Freedom as a documentary rather than delusion by fomenting moral panic for years over this grossly exaggerated ‘epidemic’ of child sex-trafficking, much of it funneling people into conspiracist rabbit holes and QAnon communities.”
Tim Ballard, on whose work the film starring Jim Caviezel is based, addressed the QAnon accusations at the recent Turning Point Action conference, saying that “Sound of Freedom” was made before QAnon even came into existence.
Berlatsky has previously written about child-trafficking, saying that the term “trafficking” itself is misleading, saying it “conflates underage people trading sex, consensual sex work, immigration and all kinds of labor exploitation in industries.”
In his Bloomberg piece on the film, he continues to make that claim: “Anti-trafficking experts have also argued that the film’s presentation of trafficking is misleading.” He cites statistics that “67% of the children who are sexually trafficked are 15 to 17 years old rather than young children. In 41% of the cases, a family member was involved.”
“Behind those numbers,” Berlatsky notes, “are often stories of addiction, disowned LGBTQ+ people and trading sex on the street to survive. That’s why experts worry that Sound of Freedom’s stranger danger narrative, and the way it centers on victims who are as innocent and as sympathetic as possible, may make it more difficult to organize help for less perfect victims when they are targeted by those close to them.”
Ballard told the Post Millennial: “There’s no doubt that there’s a lot of child sex abuse from people you know. But human trafficking and child exploitation have different faces in different places, so that is not overblown. They love to say it’s overblown, and the kind of metrics they use are ridiculous to do it. So what’s the agenda behind there?”
Ballard cited groups that attempt to legitimize pedophilia by changing the terminology from “pedophile” to “minor attracted person,” something Berlatasky has worked to do. Ballard said that these groups that seek to “minimize the significance of people who are simply attracted to minors.” In his view, this is an effort to make children more sexually available to predators.
In his Bloomberg piece, Berlatsky claims “Sound of Freedom”, as well as narratives about child-trafficking, “do little to help victims,” adding that, for viewers, “Sound of Freedom” is a conduit to connect them to deeper conspiracy theories. The film, and narratives like it, he writes, “can create coalitions of feeling, disgust and righteous rage that connect conservative conspiracy theorists with the mainstream.”
In Berlatsky’s view, the film’s “popularity is ominous.”
But, the Post Millennial’s Libby Emmons pointed out, also in Berlatsky’s view, “pedophiles should be destigmatized, and he was shocked when there was backlash against this view, calling the criticism of the view ‘overt bigotry.’ ”
As for its continued box office mojo, “Sound of Freedom” made history when its revenue increased by 37% from its opening weekend’s earnings.
Bradon Purdie, head of theatrical distribution for Angel Studios, said in a press release published on July 16: “There have only been 10 wide-release movies in box office history that have had a second-weekend increase greater than 35% over their opening weekend. All of them achieved this milestone during Christmas. Angel Studios is the only studio to accomplish this feat during the summer blockbuster season with ‘Sound of Freedom.’ ”
The film currently sits in the No. 2 spot, behind only the blockbuster “Mission Impossible”.
“Sound of Freedom” was originally produced under 20th Century Fox and finished in 2018, but it was dropped after Disney bought the studio. Only after being acquired by Angel Studios, known for its TV show “The Chosen,” did “Sound of Freedom” finally make it into theaters.
“While the entire summer movie box office lineup is underperforming, our small independent film continues to grow week over week. Driven by millions of fans and supporters, ‘Sound of Freedom’ has become a national — and soon international — movement for change,” said Jared Geesey, senior vice president of global distribution at Angel Studios.