“Peaky Blinders” Creators Condemn Unauthorized Use of Footage In DeSantis’ Homophobic Ad

The team behind the popular British drama Peaky Blinders is denouncing the use of its footage in the sensory assault that was Ron DeSantis’ anti-LGBTQ-flavored attack on GOP rival Donald Trump.

The show’s creators and its lead actor Cillian Murphy posted a statement on Wednesday, saying that the footage showing Murphy’s character Tommy Shelby was used by the DeSantis campaign without permission or official license, adding that they “do not support nor endorse the video’s narrative and strongly disapprove of the use of the content in this manner.”

The video in question, released by DeSantis’ campaign on June 30, is a mashup of clips, headlines, and statement made by Trump in support of the LGBTQ community juxtaposed with a mashup of DeSantis doing his best to make himself look tough while attacking LGBTQ rights. 

The “tough” part was delivered through images of half-naked, bearded, bodybuilders spliced with a series of clips from notably violent brutal men in popular, mostly fictional, shows and movies (that he may not have actually watched and just based the references on the titles) like Murphy as Tommy Shelby, Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street and Brad Pitt as Achilles in Troy. 

They also superimpose shots of DeSantis laughing over headlines of his legislative attacks on LGBTQ rights. Reminding everyone of his worriyngly unhinged laugh, and how much farther right he is willing to go compared to Trump who he claims “did more than any other Republican to celebrate” pride month.

It’s not clear what the strategy is for DeSantis’ 2024 campaign. He is still trailing far behind Trump, and he hasn’t done anything to earn more support even within the GOP. The video has been condemned by the Log Cabin GOP, who called the video homophobic, “divisive and desperate.” The group also called his “naive policy positions” “dangerous and politically stupid.”

The group’s comments echo much of what observers say about why DeSantis still can’t seem to catch up to Trump in the race for GOP nomination even while Trump is drowning in litigation. Even DeSantis’ own people, specifically Steve Cortes, a top spokesperson for the super PAC backing the Florida governor, publicly acknowledge that it will be an “uphill battle” for DeSantis to lead against Trump.

“Right now in national polling we are way behind, I’ll be the first to admit that,” Cortes said in a Twitter spaces event on Sunday. “I believe in being blunt and honest. It’s an uphill battle but clearly Donald Trump is the runaway frontrunner.”

In an interview on Wednesday on the podcast of conservative commentator Tomi Lahren, DeSantis justified the video’s intent as “identifying Donald Trump as really being a pioneer in injecting gender ideology into the mainstream where he was having men compete against women in his beauty pageants.”

“I think that’s totally fair game because he’s now campaigning, saying the opposite, that he doesn’t think that you should have men competing in women’s things like athletics,” DeSantis said, trying to make sense of the bizarre video. Will no one talk about why there were naked, bearded bodybuilders?

On Sunday, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttegieg, the country’s first openly gay cabinet member, was asked to comment on the video. Buttegieg, for his part, chose words very carefully.

Information for this story was found via Rolling Stone, Associated Press, The New York Times, Politico, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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