Father's Day is a time to honor and celebrate the many qualities that make dads a special and irreplacable part of kids' lives. This year's celebration is, unfortunately, tainted by the release of Adam Sandler's new comedy, "That's My Boy," about a thirteen-year-old boy's sexual relationship with his teacher. Below is Prevent Child Abuse America's statement about the movie.
Numerous media outlets are reporting that Adam Sandler’s new movie “That’s My Boy” makes light of statutory rape in its depiction of a thirteen-year old boy’s sexual relationship with his teacher at school. That relationship results in the teacher’s pregnancy, a jail sentence, and Sandler’s character being forced to raise the child himself. When the child turns eighteen, he leaves home and does not interact with his father again until the eve of his wedding, when the Sandler character shows up at his home in need of money.
Some will argue in defense of this movie by stating that the story ultimately focuses on the characters’ reconciliation and that since the movie is a comedy, advocates such as organizations like Prevent Child Abuse America, Darkness to Light and Stop It Now! are taking the story line too seriously. We would suggest that these arguments are specious at best. They do not excuse the movie’s outdated views on child sexuality, and the sexuality of boys specifically, much less the long term impact of sexual abuse on children. Nor do these arguments ameliorate the fact that the corporate culture of Columbia Pictures and Happy Madison Productions is one that embraces child rape as a means for making a profit.
“It goes without saying,” stated Jim Hmurovich, President & CEO, Prevent Child Abuse America, “that Adam Sandler and Columbia Pictures would never have made a similar movie about a thirteen-year old girl and a teacher of hers, so how is it that in 2012 they still find it acceptable to make such a movie about a character who is a boy? This is a movie about rape, plain and simple, and while we could have an endless dialogue about how this is a comedy, or a story that highlights the resilience of children, I call upon the viewing public to express their strong disapproval. Along with my colleagues from Darkness to Light and Stop It Now! we have sent the producers of the film an offer to discuss how misguided this attempt at humor is, and what message can be salvaged from this screenplay. All of us regardless of what we do in our lives have a responsibility to the children and families in this country. I suggest we figure out together how they can fulfill that responsibility in a way that supports the healthy child development of all children."