Katie Couric says she takes “responsibility for a decision that misrepresented an exchange” she had with members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League in Under The Gun, a documentary that aired earlier this month on Epix. Couric tweeted tonight that she took a second look at the editing process and decided she need to address the issue.
She responded with the statement below on the Under The Gun website.
“As Executive Producer of “Under the Gun,” a documentary film that explores the epidemic of gun violence, I take responsibility for a decision that misrepresented an exchange I had with members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL). My question to the VCDL regarding the ability of convicted felons and those on the terror watch list to legally obtain a gun, was followed by an extended pause, making the participants appear to be speechless.
When I screened an early version of the film with the director, Stephanie Soechtig, I questioned her and the editor about the pause and was told that a “beat” was added for, as she described it, “dramatic effect,” to give the audience a moment to consider the question. When VCDL members recently pointed out that they had in fact immediately answered this question, I went back and reviewed it and agree that those eight seconds do not accurately represent their response.”
The website also posted a complete transcript of Couric’s exchange with members of the VCDL.
The scene prompted intense criticism by pro-gun groups. Soechtig said in an earlier statement that the pause was a deliberate choice, intending “to provide a pause for the viewer to have a moment to consider this important question before presenting the facts on Americans’ opinions on background checks.” Also in an earlier statement, Couric said she supported Soechtig and that she is “very proud of the film.”
Epix, which acquired Under The Gun after it bowed at Sundance and premiered it on May 16 , has stood by the documentary and the filmmakers. In an interview with Deadline at Sundance, Couric said “We wanted this feeling of those empty chairs to signify how many people would be lost to gun violence in the course of watching this movie.”