Hunted-Channel 4 Documentary
When this documentary aired, the social media world filled with public outrage from people of all ages, the sheer shock factor of what viewers were seeing was enough to have many shouting in disgust at their own television sets, crying or going on some of the longest rants twitter/facebook may have ever seen. It was a very graphic, hard hitting documentary illustrating exactly what was going on in the country who’s harshening legislation on the rights of homosexuals is causing a mass of gay hate attacks, groups and pride in standing against someone elses sexuality.
The documentary was clearly made to shock the western world, but the title was incredibly relevant to some of the things which some organised groups have been doing to gay, lesbian and transgender people in Russia. ‘Safaris’ being the seeking of gay people through social networking sites, organising to meet up with them in a private place claiming it to be just a meetup with one other gay person when actually whats waiting for them behind the door is a large gay hating group who can attack, humiliate and film the individual, these films then get uploaded online for other gay-hate groups to view. The humiliation techniques can include attacks, dancing, and various other acts even as extreme as pouring urine onto the victim. When the group uploads these videos online, it also opens victims up to future violent attacks, being disowned by their families who they may not know that their family member is homosexual, losing their jobs etc.
Interviews within the documentary were quite interesting as they were diverse, they looked at all sides of the argument, young and old, male and female, and even those in authority. The ones including those involved in ‘safaris’ were easily the most controversial purely because of the way they spoke about homosexuals, and the fact they claimed to not be hunting gays, but instead paedophiles. But shortly after that is claimed, the group are recorded having a conversation about hunting homosexuals. Homophobics who were filmed within the documentaries tend to find the situation rather humorous but also almost see it as a personal duty to oppose homosexuals and those who go about it in more extreme ways begin to gain recognition within communities and in one case almost become an icon of whats going on within the groups doing it.
The shocking statistic of only 1% of gay Russians living openly is one of the biggest issues, as this means that children and adults alike are not exposed to homosexuals, or transgenders and therefore the understanding of something different to themselves is not there, legislation also prevents the raising of awareness of homosexuality to minors which means children are often brought up with negative views on homosexuality as that is the only side of the argument the law allows. Traditional values and views are upheld due to the lack of openness on the subject.
Overall the documentary did exactly what it needed to do and that was shock the viewers, it has been described as a must see and has been one of the main factors in raising awareness in more liberal countries. The addition of social media to the equation helped this documentary to become huge and even raised conversations in various establishments about the horror of what was shown, it could also be considered a factor towards the loosening of many peoples more harsh views of gay rights within our own community. This came at around the same time as documentaries like Benefits Street which in itself also created a huge amount of debate. Having so much controversy already surrounding channel 4’s documentaries sparked even more interest in Hunted.