Wednesday, January 06, 2016

"American Crime" starts second season with bizarre social media case where a teen basketball player waffles at the posting of his own abuse by teammates


American Crime”, an ABC series, started its second season tonight, Jan. 6, 2016,  with a Pilot directed by John Ridley.

In Indianapolis, an attractive private school basketball player Taylor Blaine (Connor Jessup) gets a double whammy"  other boys (apparnetly) post pictures of abuse of him allegedly done by members of his team at a hazing party, on social media. He gets suspended from school for the postings (as if the school thinks he did the postings).  Legally, the postings might amount to child pornography.  His mother (Lili Taylor) challenges the school and wants to have the other boys prosecuted for rape.  The school (with headmistress played by Felicity Huffman) keeps putting the pressure on the mother and son.  Timothy Hutton, the basketball coach Dan Sullivan, gradually starts to pressure the team members to come forward.



Is this about bullying, old-fashioned hazing, or is it really about valid sexual assault?

Judging from the circumstances, there seems to be the possibility that the other students posted the pictures, but then why is Taylor punished by the school.  On the other hand, why would he have posted them?  Just to prove he was drugged and attacked?

The New York Times has an article by James Poniewozik on the second season.  Some wild courtroom drama is coming down the pike.

ABC’s official website is here.


Update: Jan. 18, 2016

ABC's "The View" discussed the premise of "American Crime" as part of a larger discussion about online reputation, school, and the workplace.  The consensus is that Taylor gets thrown out of school for postings of him (and abuse done in a hazing episode) done by others, link to the video here.


Update: Jan. 27, 2016

In Episode 4, evidence develops that Taylor and another kid might have had cell phone communications indicating a desire for intimacy and that they could both be gay.  The other boy, humiliated and wanting an athletic scholarship, attempts to poison himself and is in the hospital.  The idea of prosecution seems to be coming apart, but the school faces lawsuits. But this show is starting to resemble "The Slap".
   
Update: Feb. 10, 2016
 
Taylor's mother still can't accept his homosexuality ("it doesn't go away"), and this is beginning to look like the reason for the suit.  At the end of the episode, it looks like Taylor is going to get gay-bashed, and possibly seek revenge.

Update: Feb. 17, 2016

Taylor gets a gun at home, and when confronted by a bully, shoots and apparently kills the bully (wo had participated in beating him up for "snitching" and then said "I will kill you" just before Taylor shot him in the belly).  It looks like his mother will try to conceal the crime. But we're back to a melodrama on school shootings, and anti-gay bullying.

It's horrible because Connor Jessup looks like someone who should play a hero.  Too bad he isn't in a Blue Seraph film.

Update: Feb. 24, 2016

Taylor will be tried as an adult, but it is disclosed that a female student had given him drugs.

Update: March 2, 2016

The school is placed into receivership as the board must resign;  a girl's mother confesses the girl gave Taylor drugs.  Lawyers want to plead, perhaps voluntary manslaughter, citing bullying and extenuating circumstances (including his being beaten up the day before).
  
Update: March 9, 2016

Taylor appears ready to take a plea deal giving him a longer prison term as an adult, to avoid the shame of being a "victim".  I get his point.  This drama is getting excruciating to watch.  A school looks the other way on anti-gay bullying, with horrific consequences for so many people.  I wonder if someone is going to make a documentary film about Tyler Clementi.

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