Next week’s episode of “American Horror Story: Cult” features a harrowing mass shooting in which at least five people are gunned down in a public space.
It’s unclear if the network, run by CEO John Landgraf, will delay airing or edit the potentially-triggering scenes in light of this week’s Las Vegas massacre. FX and the show’s production studio, 20th Century Fox Television, declined to comment on the matter.
Power producer Ryan Murphy, who fathered the series with Brad Falchuk and continues to executive produce alongisde other projects, had no comment. Reps for Falchuk did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.
The shooting sequences open and close the episode, titled “Mid-Western Assassin,” and take place at a political rally. A lone shooter targets random people in the crowd before being contained by police.
The stylized, slow-motion depiction of the assault is set to air this Tuesday, Oct. 10 — just nine days after the tragic mass massacre that occurred Sunday in Las Vegas — now called the deadliest in modern American history.
Scenes of the shooting are not included in the for the episode that FX posted to YouTube on Wednesday.
The shooting content is obviously a case of unlucky timing, given the 11-episode series wrapped production last month. It’s certainly not the first time that the scripted events of television bump up against real life tragedies.
Last year, the USA Network delayed the premiere of their Ryan Phillippe sniper drama “Shooter” from its slated summer debut. The network felt it was disrespectful to air the series on the heels of a mass shooting in Texas, and the horrific Pulse Nightclub shooting that claimed 49 lives just before that.
The 2015 season finale of “Mr. Robot” postponed its airing after events on the Rami Malek show mimicked the real-life shooting of a TV news reporter and a cameraman on air. Coincidences like these go back to national tragedies like 9/11 (Fox’s “24” was impacted) and the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings (“Hannibal,” “Castle”).
This also is not the first time “Horror Story’ has skirted real-life tragedy. The first season, “American Horror Story; Murder House,” featured a meticulous and chilling depiction of a high school shooting that drew ire for its proximity to real life events like the 1999 Columbine High School massacre.
“It’s more than a little tasteless,” wrote The Atlantic at the time. “This particular set piece seemed so deliberately exact. There was a particular event, or events, that they were trying to directly evoke and that’s just cruel.”
“American Horror Story: Cult” stars repertory players Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Adina Porter, Cheyenne Jackson and Billie Lord. Guest stars include Mare Winningham, Emma Roberts, Billy Eichner and Leslie Grossman.
“Mid-Western Assassin” was written by Todd Kurbak and directed by Bradley Buecker.