First, Aaron Sorkin went public defending the penultimate episode Oh Shenandoah of The Newsroom that aired on December 7th. Now actress Olivia Munn, who plays Sloan Sabbith on the HBO drama, is also defending the controversial episode that features a storyline containing college campus rape.
Munn went on EW Morning Live today to discuss the negative reactions that have been swirling around Sunday’s show. In the episode, ACN producer Don Keefer visits a Princeton University student, who was allegedly raped at a party, in an attempt to convince her not appear on his newscast. During their conversation, Keefer also points out all the potentially negative effects that come with the website that she created that allows other victims of rape to post their stories with anonymity.
After the episode aired, Alena Smith a writer for the show, went public via Twitter with her issues concerning the episode’s content. Smith also tweeted that she was thrown out of the writer’s room for sharing her opinion on the matter.
Sorkin conveyed his disappointment with Smith’s tweet in a statement:
So I was surprised to be told this morning that Alena had tweeted out her unhappiness with the story. But I was even more surprised that she had so casually violated the most important rule of working in a writers room which is confidentiality. It was a room in which people felt safe enough to discuss private and intimate details of their lives in the hope of bringing dimension to stories that were being pitched. That’s what happens in writers rooms and while ours was the first one Alena ever worked in, the importance of privacy was made clear to everyone on our first day of work and was reinforced constantly. I’m saddened that she’s broken that trust.
Munn agrees with Sorkin regarding Smith. “It should have been more poignant and more interesting, and not about her,” Munn said.
The actress also defended Sorkin’s decision on how to write about such a hotly debated topic. “The reality is that Sorkin writes things so that they can be talked about, and so we show both sides of it,” she said. “I think it was important to show what it’s like for women to be a rape victim, want to speak out, and then have somebody come in and say, ‘Hey don’t do that. That’s going to be bad for you.'”
The Newsroom will air its series finale next Sunday, December 14 after three seasons on HBO.