First she received slack from portraying the ‘hired help’ in The Help, now Viola Davis’ current movie is receiving backlash from protesters. At the recent premiere of Won’t Back Down in Los Angeles, protesters showed up to express their anger about the film. Won’t Back Down is loosely based on The Parent Trigger law, which was passed in California and other states in 2010. This law allows parents to enforce administrative overhaul and overrule administrators in underperforming public schools if petitioned. In the movie, Davis and her co-star, Maggie Gyllenhaal, are two angry parents (one a teacher, the other a bartender) that are fed up with the corrupt teachers union and the principal of the school played by Ving Rhames.

Protesters are upset over the portrayal of teacher’s unions and the bad wrap they’ve received in the movie. The operative word is movie. Protesters showed up to the premiere with signs and chanted things like, “Won’t Back Down, Get Out Of Town”. The movie isn’t so much about the teacher’s unions, but about two parents who had strong enough convictions to fight for a proper education for their children and other students.

When appearing on the TODAY show Monday morning Davis applauded the protesters, stating, “I welcome protests. I welcome discourse; I think discourse is a good thing. I think it spearheads change…. And you know what, in this movie the teacher at the end of the day is the hero. They save the day. And it’s a system that’s broken, that needs to be fixed.”

Do you feel the protesters are warranted in protesting the movie?

19 Comments

  1. Melinda Willis

    Fiore Scott, You summed it up perfectly!

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  2. BreaktheCycle

    People are up in arms because they should be. Teachers unions, and especially the Black community. Black children continue to be overrepresented in underperforming schools, expulsion statistics, and the prison pipeline, and underrepresented in advanced placement and gifted and talented programs. Policies that allow for the overriding of administrator’s decisions and privatization of schools only distract from the true problem: many of our children are operating in a highly stratified socio-economic and racially charged school systems. Education is for the good of society, and the quicker we realize this, the better off we will be. Lets start a movement towards having a discourse on how to make these public schools better the RIGHT way.

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  3. Allie

    I wish Viola would research more smh… As a first year teacher and a member of the NEA…I feel like movies like this just add more full to fire and try to “educate” a lazy public. If people were to read research articles on why children are truly failing they would stop blaming educators. In no other professional field, ex. doctors, lawyers, etc do people try to tell them how to their job…unlike other fields the outcome of our performance relies on outside forces as well… There not only has been an attack on teachers, but schools of educations, and accreditation bodies as well…I’m just wondering who’s going to do this job, since everybody thinks they can do it. I do it because I love it, it sure as hell isn’t for the pay check. I work 12hr days at a minimum, and only get paid for 7.5 hrs, I make nowhere near the amount of my other Masters Degree counterparts/ professionals. I am truly expected to be mommy, daddy, nurse, and psychologist. And I gladly do it, but give me my damn respect and stop trying to tear down my career…..Anywho I glad they protested : )

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  4. Allie

    I also wish black folks stopped buying into this charter school bull, don’t believe the hype…this is the beginning of the privatization of education…And black folks since when did the privatization of anything benefit us? Lol

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    • I’m genuinely asking this bc I don’t know: What’s wrong with the privatization of education? It seems to me that city public school more often than not have low budgets and overcrowding making a good education hard to attain. So far from what I’ve seen the charter schools that do work really give children the education they need. But how can that create consequences?

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  5. I guess Change and Choice are dirty words if it’s choice for parents and students and change for teachers unions.

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