Former President Trump to Host Screening of Controversial Film on Sex-Trafficked Children

Former President Trump to Host Screening of Controversial Film on Sex-Trafficked Children

Former President Donald Trump’s 2024 campaign has announced that he will be hosting a screening of the film “Sound of Freedom,” a surprise hit that focuses on the rescue of sex-trafficked children. The screening, which will take place at Trump’s golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, is set to be attended by members of the resort and other supporters. The Trump campaign emphasized the mixed reviews the film has received in mainstream media outlets and also highlighted Trump’s track record on human trafficking issues during his time in the White House. Additionally, the campaign mentioned that one of the film’s producers, Eduardo Verastegui, was a member of Trump’s Advisory Commission on Hispanic Prosperity.

Children’s Safety and Cultural Wedge Issues Take Center Stage

Several GOP presidential contenders, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, have recently prioritized children’s safety in their campaigns. DeSantis has linked this issue to other cultural wedge topics such as gender fluidity, public education, and LGBTQ matters, which he categorizes as “parents’ rights.” One notable incident involved a conflict between DeSantis and Disney, after the company criticized legislation in Florida that limited classroom discussions on sexual orientation. DeSantis accused Disney of promoting the “sexualization of children,” a claim that was refuted by Disney’s CEO Bob Iger. Trump’s screening of “Sound of Freedom” aligns him once again with content associated with the right-wing conspiracy theory QAnon, which the film’s star, Jim Caviezel, has faced accusations of promoting.

The Unexpected Success and Controversies Surrounding the Film

Despite its relatively low budget of $14.5 million, “Sound of Freedom” has surprised industry experts by performing well at the box office. On its opening day, the film earned $14 million, surpassing Disney’s “Indiana Jones and the Dial Of Destiny” for the top spot. As of Wednesday, the film has made over $53 million. While only a few major publications, including The New York Times, have reviewed the film, it has garnered attention through online ticket sales facilitated by Utah-based Angel Studios’ “pay it forward” campaign. The film’s financing reportedly came mainly from Mexican sources.

“Sound of Freedom” claims to be based on a true story and follows the journey of former government agent Tim Ballard as he attempts to rescue abducted children from sex traffickers in Colombia. Ballard, the real-life inspiration behind the film, is a former Homeland Security agent and the founder of Operation Underground Railroad, a non-profit organization dedicated to combating child exploitation. However, the group has faced criticism for alleged exaggerations in their claims. Ballard has testified before Congress about his efforts, and in 2019, he was appointed to a presidential council on human trafficking. Prior to the film’s release, Operation Underground Railroad released a statement outlining the parts of the film that were true and those that were fabricated.

Jim Caviezel, known for his role in Mel Gibson’s controversial film “The Passion of the Christ,” has been promoting his latest role in “Sound of Freedom” on right-wing media figure Steve Bannon’s podcast. While some conservative outlets have defended the film against its critics, Ballard has distanced himself from any association with QAnon. The conspiracy theory alleges that Trump was secretly fighting against powerful networks of satanic pedophiles. Individuals displaying QAnon-themed messages or expressing support for these views were often seen at Trump’s political rallies. When questioned about QAnon in 2020, Trump stated that he did not know much about the movement but appreciated their support.

Former President Trump’s decision to host a screening of “Sound of Freedom” demonstrates his alignment with right-wing circles and his focus on human trafficking issues. The film’s unexpected success at the box office and its controversies, including connections to QAnon, have brought it into the spotlight. However, the true impact of the film and its reception among the general public remains to be seen.


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