Acclaimed director Spike Lee’s movie about “human beings who are addicted to blood” received substantial mainstream media attention last year. A new fact-based independent film exploring “the most prolific serial killer in American history” has attracted relatively little.
The two film projects, “The Newest Hottest Spike Lee Joint” and “Gosnell,” have their record-breaking crowdfunded success in common. However, where that money came from and the subsequent media attention are vastly different.
“Spike Lee had enormous publicity and he is a darling of the critics and the mainstream media, but yet he could only get 6,000 people to contribute to his film,” Phelim McAleer, a producer of the movie about notorious Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell, said in a press release. He added:
We are not celebrities but have managed to raise more in a shorter period of time with over two and a half times as many backers. It shows that there is a demand for these types of powerful stories to be told.
Last year, “The Newest Hottest Spike Lee Joint” received $1.4 million, exceeding its goal of $1.25 million, from 6,421 backers in the span of 30 days on the crowdfunding website Kickstarter.
“Gosnell” currently has $1.5 million from nearly 16,000 contributors on the website Indiegogo. It has 12 days left to reach its $2.1 million goal.
Katie Yoder, a writer for NewsBusters, researched how much media attention “Gosnell” was getting:
I searched network transcripts for mentions of the Gosnell movie,” Yoder writes. “Finding none, I searched transcripts for the last two years for variations of ‘crowdfunded’ or mentions of Kickstarter or Indiegogo. Out of the 55 results, six dealt with Spike Lee’s flick, which reached his $1.4 million goal last August. Through this methodology, I uncovered the network bias.
Yoder reports: “During their weekly news shows, ABC, CBS and NBC mentioned Spike Lee’s psychological blood thriller on Kickstarter six times in 2013. But the Gosnell movie failed to make their cut — or rather, meet their agenda.”
McAleer has said he will continue to do battle with the lack of media coverage that initially attracted his attention to the crimes of Gosnell, who was convicted of first-degree murder last year in the deaths of babies at his clinic. He was sentenced to life without parole after waiving his right to appeal.
If the producers of “Gosnell” don’t achieve their financing goal by May 12, they are committed to give the money back.
This story was produced by The Foundry’s news team. Nothing here should be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of The Heritage Foundation.