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The Newsroom has been a divisive show ever since its inception, but Sunday’s episode, “Oh Shenandoah,” reached a new level of audience blowback—even from some of those involved in the show.
On last night’s episode, ACN producer Don Keefer is tasked with interviewing a Princeton student, Mary, a rape victim who has decided to create a site that allows other victims of rape to tell their stories. The plot angered many viewers, given that Don’s defensive stance on behalf of the man accused of the rape largely results from the fact that the man has not been found guilty.
Many critics and viewers spoke to how poorly they believed the episode handled the storyline, which received further scrutiny in the coincidental timing of its release following Rolling Stone‘s story about campus rape that has also come under intense criticism. One of those criticizing The Newsroom‘s plot was a writer on the show, Alena Smith.
Smith voiced her opinions on Twitter last night after the episode aired to discuss how she fought against the storyline being written and was thrown out of the writers’ room as a result.
Smith is referring to Emily Nussbaum’s piece about the episode’s issues for The New Yorker.
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Smith compared herself to a character on the show, Hallie, who gets fired from ACN for sending out a politically charged tweet on the fictional news show’s Twitter account.
Alena Smith and representatives from HBO did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.