This story was originally published by the WND News Center.
WARNING: Highly sensitive subject matter
Among the left-leaning critics attacking the surprise hit film "Sound of Freedom," about a man who quits his Department of Homeland Security job hunting pedophiles to rescue sex-trafficked children in Colombia, is a man who worked for a group that is leading efforts to recast pedophiles as "Minor Attracted Persons," or MAPs.
"Sound of Freedom," starring "Passion of the Christ" star Jim Caviezel playing child-rescuer Tim Ballard, is the surprise Hollywood smash of the summer, grossing $85 million since its July 4 release, Forbes reported Sunday. The film has been pilloried and ridiculed by various leftist publications – ranging from Rolling Stone ("‘Sound Of Freedom’ Is a Superhero Movie for Dads With Brainworms") to Jezebel ("‘Sound of Freedom’ Is an Anti-Child Trafficking Fantasy Fit for QAnon").
Despite hopes that efforts to save innocent children from sex traffickers might unite a bitterly divided nation, left-wing activists are dwelling on its alleged links to extreme-right "Q-anon" conspiracies rather than joining conservatives and people of faith in celebrating its focus on solving the crisis of the horrific exploitation of children.
Now Twitchy and leftism expert Andy Ngo reveal the latest man of the left to smear "Sound of Freedom," Noah Berlatsky, is the former spokesman for the foundation Prostasia, a leading group driving the left's escalating campaign to recast pedophiles as victims of "stigma" and "Minor Attracted Persons," or "MAPs."
Berlasky, author of "Wonder Woman: Bondage and Feminism in the Marston/Peter Comics, 1941-1948," wrote an opinion piece Saturday for Bloomberg headlined, "QAnon and ‘Sound of Freedom’ Both Rely on Tired Hollywood Tropes." And as Ngo tweeted Sunday, "leftist activist Noah Berlatsky [was] the spokesperson for M.A.P. (minor-attracted person) advocacy group, Prostasia. In 2017, he tweeted that pedophiles are a stigmatized group who get designated as deviants for hateful purposes."
Berlasky's review of "Sound of Freedom" focuses heavily on QAnon, and even makes a connection to fascism. It concludes with these two loaded paragraphs (the link is the author's):
"Scholar Robert Paxton argues that fascism is marked, among other things, by "cults of unity, energy, and purity" and that it pursues goals of "internal cleansing." The far right is motivated by myths of corrupted innocence and corruption avenged. You can see that in QAnon. But you can also see it in Hollywood's own trafficking narratives.
So, is Sound of Freedom a QAnon dog whistle, or is it just another thriller? The answer is that – whatever the filmmaker's intentions – it functions as both. These narratives do little to help victims. But they can create coalitions of feeling, disgust and righteous rage that connect conservative conspiracy theorists with the mainstream. That's why Trump's screening it. And that's why its popularity is ominous.
Sympathy for pedophiles?
Ngo's tweet is linked to an actual 2017 tweet by Berlatsky that reads: "Pedophiles are essentially a stigmatized group. Certain people get designated as deviants, people hate them."
The unearthed tweet aptly summarizes the approach of "MAP" defenders who stress that the softer term de-stigmatizes people who acknowledge they are sexually attracted to children but have not acted out on their paraphilic desires (yet). But critics charge that watering down terms applied to adults who are prone to the sickening desire to have sexual contact with children – and portraying these adults as victims of discrimination and societal "hate" – is a dangerous first step toward normalizing pedophilia by creating sympathy for them.
In a piece titled, "BUSTED! Bloomberg writer TRASHING 'Sound of Freedom' as a QAnon film connected to pedo group," Twitchy writer Sam P. writes: "What IS IT with these Leftist rags trying to tie 'Sound of Freedom' to Q? Guys, gals, whatever you call yourselves, CHILD SEX TRAFFICKING is sadly very real and an issue that should never be partisan. If you find yourself defending child sex trafficking to own the cons [conservatives], you're a horrible person."
Then, she writes, after showing Ngo's tweet about Berlatsky, "And quite possibly connected to pedophilia ... like the writer of that piece up there. Noah Berlatsky."
The Twitchy writer states, "It is really strange that anyone would object to a film like 'Sound of Freedom'....Unless of course, those who object have ... well ... creepy connections to pedophile groups and have attempted to make pedophiles sound like the real victims here."
She also reports Berlatsky made his Twitter account private after his associations were made known: "Note, Berlatsky is also locked down so even if you're not blocked [on Twitter], unless you were already following him, you can't see his tweets. Wonder if he's trying to clean house."
Pedophilia: A 'sexual preference'?
With the explosion of pro-transgender youth programs, including more than a thousand schools nationwide that maintain an official policy of not informing parents that their student-child is "gender transitioning," critics of LGBT extremism are warning about the erosion of parental rights as a threat to children's innocence, health and safety.
Now comes along what many regard as the "final frontier" of left-driven sexual exploration and "tolerance": the potential mainstreaming of pedophilia. After all, say critics, if a child can choose an opposite-sex "gender" as an identity and begin the process of making physical and hormone-induced changes toward that goal – without his or her parents' knowledge and input – how long will it be before "progressives" assert that a child has the "right" to pursue sexual relationships with whomever he or she chooses, including adults?
The notorious "Man-Boy Love" pro-pederasty group, NAMBLA, has already made that assertion.
The first group in recent years to advocate for "MAPs," as opposed to pedophiles, is called "B4U-ACT." Included in its stated mission is "to educate the public regarding issues faced by individuals (adults and adolescents) who are sexually attracted to children."
Prostasia Foundation, the group for which Berlasky was spokesman, is allied with B4U-ACT's approach: both groups claim to have the purpose of curtailing actual child sexual abuse while separating out the sexual "attraction" of adults toward children as a mere "sexual preference," seemingly inborn and unchangeable. (An academic paper linked to the Prostasia site states: "There is no evidence that pedophilia can be changed; interventions are intended to reduce sexual response to children or to increase self-management skills.")
A Jan. 9 article on Prostasia's blog, "Taboo Fantasies; Real Harm Reduction," encourages people with taboo sexual desires to fantasize about "even our most stigmatized feelings of attraction," which, in the case of "MAPs" (pedophiles), would be adults having sexual fantasies involving children. The writer, Eira Duval, states: "In a fictional space we are free to explore and express even our most stigmatized feelings of attraction, romance, and arousal. All without the anxiety that we might be putting ourselves or anyone else in harm’s way. Like a rollercoaster, it provides all the thrill associated with danger, knowing all the while there’s no real risk."
But creating sympathy for "MAPs" and approving of pedophiles to fantasize about their perverse desires surely is far from the minds of everyday Americans, who, based on the popularity of "Sound of Freedom," are more concerned with the practical need to protect children from sex predators: Writes "Dave the Wes" in commenting on the Twitchy article exposing Berlatsky's affiliations: "Anyone, especially journalists, who slander this movie should have a search warrant issued for computer files and home because they are definitely pedos themselves."
Saving children motivates Caviezel
Though cynical leftist ideologues like Berlastky claim "Sound of Freedom"-type "narratives do little to help victims," that is precisely what SOF star Caviezel is hoping to do with the movie. In a special message to theater-goers shown after the film's ending, he states: "'Sound of Freedom' is one of those films that can legitimately change this world, so we want to ignite a fire in audiences and open their eyes to the dark reality of millions of children that need our help. Let's make this film a historic event and the start of the end of child trafficking... ."
"Pre-order your tickets today and you can send the message that 'God's children are no longer for sale,'" he says, echoing the main theme of the Angel Studios production.
Below is the July 13 interview by Joy Thayer of Spero Pictures with Caviezel and former Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, President Trump's national security adviser who was reportedly railroaded out of his position by then-FBI Director James Comey and FBI agents: