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At the top of the controversial new films list is 'Run Hide Fight', a thriller about a fictional school shooting. What went wrong with this film?

What’s the controversial story behind ‘Run, Hide, Fight”s release?

With the turn of the New Year, there have been a lot of upcoming movie announcements. While moviegoers are anticipating some big movies this year, not all of them have been well-received. At the top of the controversial new films list is Run Hide Fight, a thriller about a fictional school shooting. 

So why are people so upset about the new feature? People who’ve lived through the onslaught of American mass shooting news may find some obvious answers, but let’s take a deeper look at why Run, Hide, Fight is upsetting a lot of people. 

Ben Shapiro’s connection

Last week, rightwing regular Ben Shapiro announced that his publication, The Daily Wire, would be buying Run Hide Fight. Since Shapiro’s publication has been mired in controversy, cast & crew members aren’t too happy about the acquisition. 

A bunch of crew members subsequently expressed their frustration with being associated with the Daily Wire co-founder. “Is there any way to remove your name from a crew list? “ asked the film’s second AD, Cristen Leah Haynes. “If I’d known . . . I’ve never wanted to take my name off a project more.”

Sexual assault allegations

On top of being associated with Ben Shapiro, the film is also facing some other nasty allegations. In April of 2020, Adam Donaghey, one of the film’s producers, was arrested for allegedly raping a sixteen-year-old. 

Not only that, but a couple months later, The Daily Beast published an exposé that claimed that top producers, Dallas Sonnier & Amanda Presmyk, at Run Hide Fight’s production company, Cinestate, turned a blind eye to Donaghey’s behavior, as well as offering him more power within Cinestate. 

A crewmember on the film Satanic Panic, which Cinestate also produced, explained to The Daily Beast that: “At that point, it’s a safety issue. When you hire someone who has been accused of sexually assaulting someone, and you put them in charge of writing checks for everyone in your entire company, are you not giving that person power to abuse further – whether sexually or through forced labor?”

No action taken

Cristen Leah Haynes had managed to capture Donaghey sexually harassing her during the shooting of Occupy Texas (2014). The clip was subsequently published by The Daily Beast, but no one contacted Haynes with any sort of apology following the incident.

“After the article came out,” Haynes explained, “there was nothing. Which is weird. An apology would be the right thing to do, but at this point I can’t expect that from them.”

And the misconduct certainly didn’t stop there. It also came to light that Sonnier & Presmyk had ignored another harassment allegation during the filming of VFW (2014), This incident involved actor Fred Williamson allegedly groping a costume designer during a wardrobe fitting. 

On set, the producers also allegedly pressured actress Ruby Modine into a sex scene she hadn’t consented to. Haynes added that “Dallas is gonna have to answer for the things that he’s done. And I don’t know anybody that would work with him given the terrible things he’s done.” 

Ben Shapiro’s role in Run, Hide, Fight

To detractors, it’s not surprising that Ben Shapiro was attracted to the project. In his publication The Daily Wire, Shapiro greenlit an article that called for the end of the #MeToo movement. The article, written by Matt Walsh, scathed: “In a word, #MeToo is about vengeance. It is about feminists evening the score with the dreaded patriarchy. It is not about truth, justice, fairness, or anything remotely along those lines.”

Brittany Ingram, the production designer on a Cinestate film Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich, said that the union didn’t surprise her. “Honestly,” she said, “I feel like it’s pretty on brand for both of them to team up.”

She continued: “I find it incredibly unfortunate that a lot of my friends might have to work on some of these propaganda films – because that’s what they are. I do feel ashamed that I worked on them. And the potential that could come from a partnership like this could be damning in terms of its influence.”

Watch options for Run Hide Fight are limited, unless you want to support Shapiro’s site. However, it will more than likely be picked up on various streaming services later on in the year. The film, directed by Kyle Rankin, follows a group of teens whose normal day at high school is interrupted by a rampage of school shooters. 

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