Amazon Watch Releases “Formal” Statement on “Green Inferno”

The latest chapter in the over-inflated drama dubbed “Jungle Gate”

 

How did I get caught up in this mess?

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When I reported on an online petition to boycott the Eli Roth helmed cannibal survival movie The Green Inferno in July, I had no idea that I’d be pulled into an over-inflated he-said-she-said saga of epic proportions. What a can of worms!

Recap

Back on July 16th, The Blood-Shed was one of the first to report on a Change.Org petition that sought to extinguish The Green Inferno on the grounds that it’s “dehumanizing” to indigenous South American tribes. Launched by the account Boycott Green Inferno and including a quote attributed to Amazon Watch (a respected organization long at the forefront of Rain Forest conservationism and Indigenous Peoples’ rights) the petition lambasted Roth for creating a potentially damaging representation of Peruvian Indians based on long-standing stereotypes.  It reads, in part:

Films like this have always portrayed negative stereotypes against indigenous people as brute savages. These films have psychological effect as indigenous people have been through colonial trauma assimilating to white culture being taught self-hate. “Westerners are unfortunately ignorant about Amazonian indigenous cultures and depicting them in such a violent story dehumanizes their peoples and couldn’t be farther from reality. Shame on you. As a storyteller you hold a great responsibility to influence others. Propagating such hate towards peoples who have been ravaged and raped for decades by white supremacist culture is not constructive in our fight to save the Amazon. Most indigenous communities are more in tune with nature than you’ll ever be, and would never conceive of such violence for profit. It’s a shame, we should be creating stories than accurately depict indigenous way of life which is holistic, sustainable, spiritual and harmonious with our earth and brothers and sisters.

Podcaster Stuart Andrews of Cinephobia Radio took it upon himself to confirm the source of the Boycott Green Inferno petition with a mind towards exposing a possible marketing ploy, as well as any potential misuse of Amazon Watch’s good name and reputation. While his search for a conspiracy turned up nothing, I found myself under attack (along with every other horror journalist) for simply reporting on the petition’s existence—which resulted in some very real backlash directed at Amazon Watch.

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It’s important for me to mention that The Blood-Shed’s original article never even mentioned Amazon Watch; we credited the petition to the account that launched it: Boycott Green Inferno. If, however, it turns out that the petition was initiated by someone at Camp Roth (resulting in heartache for Amazon Watch) well, that certainly isn’t cool. I’d definitely want to take ownership for however we may have inadvertently propagated a hoax. Well…

Long story short: The petition was legitimate, if unintentionally misguided; no one would be remiss for taking it at face value. You can read all about how Andrews got to the bottom of it all in my last Jungle Gate article: HERE.

A point of contention I have with this situation (besides being skewered and painted a shoddy journalist) was that Amazon Watch didn’t immediately own up to the text accompanying the Boycott Green Inferno petition. The organization claimed no involvement in the petition’s launch, but reserved the right to release a “formal” statement regarding their position on Roth’s movie. As for whether or not the text attributed to them actually came from Amazon Watch, they remained mum.

My problem is this differentiation between a “formal” and informal statement. The text used in the Boycott Green Inferno petition came from comments posted by someone operating the Amazon Watch Instagram account. While these comments were not made in any official capacity, they were posted in a public forum on the internet. In this day and age, when people are held accountable for offhanded comments made in public, distancing themselves from the text of the petition was weak. Refusing to own-up added to the illusion of a marketing ploy and victimization of Amazon Watch. Since no ploy existed and the text was legitimate, they have no one else to blame for any unwanted attention garnered from the petition.

Refusing to own the language of the petition while promising a “formal” statement gives the illusion of backroom maneuvering. The use of these verbal gymnastics to distance themselves from the original remarks seems suited to the world of litigation, where sleazy lawyers speak in Legal-ese and endorsements are often bartered. If I suspected for a moment that Amazon Watch planned on putting the screws to Roth, this would be the reason.

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What would I have done if I had been the mouth-piece for Amazon Watch? Simple: “We did not launch the petition, but the accompanying text came from our official Instagram account. While the sentiments do align with our organization’s stance on issues of Indigenous rights in general, we plan on releasing a formal statement regarding The Green Inferno soon.” See what I did there?

Anyway, the promised “formal” statement from Amazon Watch has finally been released. In order to provide non-biased reporting, we are including a portion of the statement below, along with a link to where it can be read in its entirety.

For almost two decades Amazon Watch has partnered with indigenous peoples across the Amazon Basin to advance their rights and defend the rainforest from destructive projects. As such, Amazon Watch is deeply troubled by the overtly racist messaging in Eli Roth’s film “The Green Inferno.” Amazon Watch does not condone the film. We stand behind Peruvian indigenous organizations that have denounced “The Green Inferno” as racist, promoting retrograde stereotypes of indigenous peoples as savages that enable policies detrimental to the survival of isolated Amazonian indigenous peoples.

On August 5th, Peru’s largest indigenous federation AIDESEP spoke out against the racist depictions of Amazonian indigenous peoples in Eli Roth’s upcoming movie “The Green Inferno.” Amazon Watch, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization, supports that statement and adds its voice to the growing chorus of condemnation.

You can peruse the statement at your leisure: HERE.

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Andrews and Amazon Watch would like to bait me into a conversation about Eli Roth’s questionable marketing campaign for The Green Inferno (and I may at some point), but in truth, this issue has already received too much attention. This isn’t The Washington Post, it’s The Blood-Shed! We don’t give credence or platforms to organizations that would have us feel guilty about watching horror movies, nor do we defend filmmakers in an arena where they’re already respected. I may or may not write another article on “Jungle Gate”, but it will be on my own terms, presented in a way our readers can appreciate.

Conclusion

Amazon Watch can avoid unwarranted backlash by sticking to conservationism and staying out of the arena of Entertainment Criticism. At the very least, address all other issues facing indigenous tribes (disease, incursion, deforestation, etc.) first. When you venture outside of your scope, attempting to shame genre enthusiasts far removed from the jungles of South America, you distract from your primary cause and distances yourselves from potential allies. I have no doubt that many people who will see and enjoy The Green Inferno are also very empathetic towards actual indigenous issues. Whatever your opinion of Roth’s movie, use this unexpected attention to build bridges, as opposed to wagging fingers.

Horror movies are often racist, sexist, homophobic, and otherwise inappropriate—and that’s ok! We’re talking about works of fiction, for starters; no one will go see The Green Inferno (or any other horror movie) expecting to be legitimately educated. Negative stereotypes in horror movies are often presented in all their ugliness as a means of challenging longstanding conventions and promoting dialog.

Complaining that horror movies are offensive is like complaining that cartoons don’t abide by the laws of physics. Like, duh!

What do you think about the hoopla that is Jungle Gate? Are you excited for the release of The Green Inferno in September? Do you plan on boycotting the film? Sound off in the Comments section!

Follow me on Twitter @josh_millican for quality horror articles worthy of your attention.

 

14 Comments on this post.

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  • FEEDBACK
    13 August 2015 at 3:46 am - Reply
    • Josh Millican
      13 August 2015 at 12:10 pm - Reply

      You should call me up for Vol. 3 and we can debate. Seriously, with respect and maturity. I think it would be a good time for both of us and your listeners.

      • FEEDBACK
        13 August 2015 at 9:25 pm - Reply

        No thanks. But there’s some interesting points and comments here that we’ll address for sure.

        • Josh Millican
          13 August 2015 at 10:42 pm - Reply

          Yeah, I doubt I’ll be tuning in if that’s the case. Seems like you want to twist my words without giving me a chance to defend myself, clarify, or offer counterpoints. Having listened to your last show, I’m familiar with your tactics. I get it, you hate Eli Roth. You’re just aching for a scandal, a villain. Since Eli can’t be bothered with you, it looks like you’ve set your crosshairs on me. Basically, for no other reason besides the fact that I won’t tow your agenda. Just remember that I’m the only one who actually followed up and clarified the source of the Boycott Petition–even though I never named AZ. AND, I’m the only one who gave space to AZ for their “formal statement”. But whatever. I’ll be your devil-boy. Just don’t expect my patronage or listenership.

          • FEEDBACK
            14 August 2015 at 2:21 am -

            Well, here’s the thing, Josh. Your points have been wildly contradictory. You’re either oblivious to this fact or you’re doing it out of perverse mischief. I don’t know your site that well. Maybe this is what your readers have come to expect? Either way, I’m not interested in facilitating it.

            In some of these comments you thank us for providing more context to the discussion but then you write a piece where you complain about being dragged into the discussion. And then you want a ‘debate?’

            You defend, “Negative stereotypes in horror movies….” for….”promoting dialog” but you don’t actually want the dialogue, as you make abundantly clear when you say, “We don’t give credence or platforms to organizations that would have us feel guilty about watching horror movies, nor do we defend filmmakers in an arena where they’re already respected.”

            So make up your mind, sir!

            You also praised us for the podcast with this comment:

            “Well done! I listened to every second. …I wish I had the time to get to the bottom of things like you did, so I appreciate your efforts. One day, horror journalism will be my paying gig, and I’ll make an effort to follow the example you set. ….As promised, I’ll take my lumps. Look for an update Monday. Good job!”

            And then you followed it up with THIS comment:

            “I can’t help but concluding that this has been much ado about nothing, not even worthy of the amount of time I’ve put into this article. Being accused of lazy journalism and pushing disinformation has derailed any deeper discussion of The Green Inferno’s subtext. And, unfortunately, I’m left with more disdain than respect for Stuart Andrews. As horror journalists, we should build each other up and support one another; this community isn’t as big as you might think, and a shot against one of us is an affront to us all. Any backlash is yours to bare.”

            To be honest, you’ve left a few of us scratching our heads. I can only imagine it’s a bit of mischief on your part so of course, I’m not interested in being anyone’s dupe!

            If you’re serious about being open to a dialogue on the issues the film raises and if you’d legitimately like to debate this stuff in an open forum with me, I’m inviting you to sign up for THE MORTUARY. We have a fantastic thread on THE GREEN INFERNO here:
            http://the-mortuary.com/showthread.php?t=32705

            Shoot me an email at info @ cinephobia-radio.com with your desired username and I’ll hook you up. You’re also free to start a thread for the Blood-Shed which you can update when you have articles you think our members would appreciate.

            But to honour Mr. Macabre’s request to, “Never again darken your site with my imbecilic diatribes,” I must bid you adieu here. But the invitation to join us at The Mortuary remains open.

            Viddy well!
            Stuart.

        • Jeffrey McCullough
          13 August 2015 at 10:49 pm - Reply

          give the man his voice. debate him

        • Johnny Macabre
          13 August 2015 at 11:09 pm - Reply

          Hello, good sir. I am Johnny “Macabre” Lepper. I, along with my cohort, Joshua, own this fine establishment. I stayed out of this for a bit, but there is only so much I can take. You, sir, with all due respect, come across as quite the manchild. You seem to consider yourself some “veteran” of the genre. It is for this reason that I am then confused then find you to be so immature. You want to open a discussion on a subject, then when you are taken up on this supposed interest in dialogue you turn it down, stating you would prefer to speak about someone when they cannot defend themselves. It’s really quite pathetic. Please, sir, go back to your kingdom of delusion where you rule with a hand of what appears to be pure desire to cause trouble. Never again darken my site with your imbecilic diatribes.

          Good day
          ~Johnny Macabre

    • Josh Millican
      14 August 2015 at 5:35 pm - Reply

      Oh good, if you won’t be replying again, at least I can have he last word on my own platform. Your Jungle Gate podcast was exhaustive. I found myself agreeing with some aspects of he show, while disagreeing with others. I directed praise at you for what you did well, and in a separate conversation, I expressed a variety of opinions on different aspects of your broadcast. Is it wrong that I don’t have a single opinion for all of your assertions? Am I allowed to like aspects of it, or is it all or nothing with you?

      You did a good job getting to the bottom of the Boycott petition. It was important to you and you accomplished your goal. It was a puzzle, so I commended you for figuring it out. The fact that I’m not interested in engaging in a broader discussion regarding marketing tactics, and the fact that I was turned off by a third act shift where you suddenly decided to attack every horror journalist who reported on the petition’s existence (as opposed to ONLY those that named AW). I had mixed feelings, so yeah, there you have it.

      Since you’re clearly planning an entire podcast around me, I find your unwillingness to include me in an actual conversation disheartening. As you’re dissecting me, just keep the following in mind: In your podcast, you chastised Bloody Disgusting for naming AW and calling them “idiots”. Now, you plan on attacking a journalist who never named AW, was actually rather non-biased in my initial assessment (especially when you consider this is a forum that caters to genre fans)–and even though I didn’t make a mistake in my reporting (unlike those who DID name AW) I took the time to writer additional articles containing thousands of words just to ensure all sides got a fair shake.

      The Blood-Shed is not Bloody Disgusting and I am not Brad Miska. We are a small, new website trying to make a name for ourselves. We don’t even sell add space yet, so everything we do is for the love of horror, and John and I got into the red every month with hosting and convention fees. I’m not a major player in this arena, merely a hopeful up-and-comer. I don’t have a powerful team at my disposal like BD or Eli Roth. I have a full time job, a mortgage, and a dog with epilepsy. So have fun picking on the little guy who went above and beyond what any other reporter besides yourself did. I should probably just sit back and take comfort in the fact that, just as the Boycott petition actually increased buzz surrounding The Green Inferno, your attack will probably increase my profile, leading to even more readers. So perhaps I should be thanking you.

      Enjoy creating mountains out of mole hills! Good luck to you in all of your endeavors.

      • FEEDBACK
        14 August 2015 at 6:58 pm - Reply

        Sorry, I know you want the last word (and feel free to have it after this comment) but don’t worry. I’ve decided against mentioning you or the Blood Shed articles in my follow-up.

        I’ll try to address some of the points made here without directly quoting anything from the site specifically but rest assured, the next episode won’t be an attack on you or this site in any way.

        As for turning down the offer of a debate, unfortunately, due to the inconsistencies in your arguments, I don’t feel a debate would be of much interest to my listeners. I applaud you for being one of the few sites to follow-up on the petition but if I’m being honest, I’m not impressed with the quality of the articles.

        As for the personal insults you and your partner have directed at me here, well, that leaves absolutely no chance of ever receiving an invite on Cinephobia Radio.

        If you’d like to discuss this issue further, hit me up for an account on The Mortuary. Personal insults are not welcome on the site so it’s a much better forum for discussing hotly contest issues in a civilized manner (and with in mind, I urge you to read through the Green Inferno thread. I’m sure you’d find a lot of material there worth pondering.)

        Good luck with your site!

    • Josh Millican
      14 August 2015 at 7:12 pm - Reply

      I think I’ve been rather consistent–consistently at odds with some of your assertions. I love how you frame your unwillingness to debate around a shortcoming on my end. If I’m so inconsistent then you should have no problem besting me and putting me in my place. I think it’s much more likely that I would expose flaws in your core assertions–and THAT is why you won’t talk to me on air. You’re scared. As for the insults, my cohort certainly let you have it (he’s a friend of mine, so what did you expect?) but I think I’ve been fairly civil this whole time–or at the very least, no less civil than you were when you accused all horror bloggers of shoddy journalism, even though the petition was legit, and no one can be criticized for taking it at face value. When you first contacted me about wanting to look deeper into the Boycott petition, I thought I had an ally, but what you really wanted, I believe, is a mouthpiece. I’m no one’s puppet.

      Good Luck!

  • Neil
    13 August 2015 at 7:48 am - Reply

    Amazon Watch accuses Roth of being a white supremacist racist who wields retrograde colonial ideas about savages living in the wild, but Amazon Watch does the same thing, by making out indigenous peoples to be “spiritual and close to nature,” thus perpetuating the myth of the ‘noble savage’. In colonial times, this patronising notion of the ‘noble savage’ went hand in hand with that of the ‘barbaric savage’. Both views are ones which are doing little to help indigenous peoples who have lives which intersect with the modern world, and who are just trying to get by like the rest of us. Hypocrites! Either change your perceptions or let him get on with releasing the film!

  • Sam
    13 August 2015 at 9:22 am - Reply

    I must admit this whole thing is stupid. What’s one of the best things about movies? They’re not real! Movies are awesome because they can send the viewer on a journey impossible to do themselves. Why? Because it’s fake. All of a sudden those rules do not apply to Eli Roths film for some reason. My point is, this is dumb and the fact that you think you can control someone else idea of art and imagery is quite honestly despicable.

  • BDTRooper
    13 August 2015 at 9:43 am - Reply

    I wonder how many dissenters have actually seen the movie, since it doesn’t come out until Sept. And I doubt the film is saying all indigenous people behave this way. It’s a horror film, and horror films force us to confront fears and ideas and emotions like no other genre. And perhaps, having discussions open up regarding indigenous people and the plight of those in the Amazon struggling to hold onto their way of life will ultimately result in some positive effects from the movie beyond entertainment value.

  • Green Inferno | STRANGE MOVIES
    19 August 2015 at 8:27 pm - Reply

    […] namens boykott green inferno  auf Change.org ruft zu eben diesem Boykott auf. Wie blood sheed.com  berichtet, werfen der oder die Initiatoren Regisseur  Roth vor, eine Stereotype zu bedienen, […]

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