What's going on?
Speaking ahead of the launch of Die Hard 5, Bruce Willis was pressed on the subject of Hollywood violence and its supposed influence on real-life gun crime.
The 57-year-old actor responded defiantly: "No one commits a crime because they saw a film. There's nothing to support that."
He believes the "real topic is diminished" when parallels are drawn between violent movies and shootings like those that occurred last year in Connecticut and Colorado.
Before last month's launch of Django Unchained Quentin Tarantino also appeared to lose patience with this line of questioning, telling Channel 4 anchor Krishnan Guru-Murphy he would "shut his butt down" rather than take the bait.
Are these film stars right to dismiss a link as fear-mongering?
Case for: Rubbish
Quite simply, this is froth and always has been. There's no rational basis for tying Tarantino movies or Die Hard to shootings of any kind. In fact, better. There's no good evidence that media contributes, even marginally, to mass homicides or kids committing crimes. Focusing on films and video-games allows politicians to ignore the real problems - like failing mental health care, or gun control - and blame a convenient boogey-man. To paraphrase Tarantino, their butts should all be shut down.
Case against: Who profits?
Hollywood's elite would like us to think there's no problem with movie violence, because they make such a fortune out of it. How can you say that these blood-thirsty films don't contribute to our culture? They practically define it. And a society in which violence is normalised cannot but contribute to increased crime. Studies don't prove it does; but they don't prove it doesn't either. It's a shame that the moment such concerns are raised, they get waved away by snooty twenty-somethings and those in the film-industry.