‘Sound of Freedom’ Is a Thunderclap Call to Action

‘Sound of Freedom’ Is a Thunderclap Call to Action
'God's Children Are Not for Sale'—Eduardo Verástegui on the Success of 'Sound of Freedom.'
J.G. Collins

“Sound of Freedom,” the Jim Caviezel film about Homeland Security agent Tim “Timoteo” Ballard’s relentless pursuit of a child who was trafficked in Colombia, has stunned Hollywood, both critically and financially.

Variety, the industry trade paper, reports that the Angel Studio production earned an average of $11,368 at each of the 2,850 theaters at which it was playing over Independence Day weekend. That compares favorably with Sony’s “Insidious: The Red Door,” which delivered an average of just $10,225 at 3,188 screens, and Disney’s “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” which generated a meager average of $5,760 at 4,600 theaters. As of this writing (July 12), “Sound of Freedom” has taken in more than $40 million—on its way to $50 million—on a reported production budget of $14.5 million.

Variety calls “Sound of Freedom” a “solidly made and disquieting thriller.” I would agree, although it is in the same genre of the lone rescuer/avenger, especially of children, that’s been sounded out in “Man on Fire” (2004) and in several films that Liam Neeson has turned out over the past decade or so.

But the Variety reviewer also seemed to have needed to inoculate himself from giving “Sound of Freedom” an overall good review by also siding with the torrent of criticism that has been dumped on the subtly faith-based film by the sometimes hostile secular media. While giving “Sound of Freedom” a good review, Variety’s reviewer said it was “adjacent to the alt-right paranoia that was originally stoked by 4Chan and QAnon: the wing-nut conspiracy theory about a Washington, D.C., pizza parlor.”

But “Sound of Freedom” has nothing to do with what came to be called “Pizzagate,” the internet hoax that purported that a Washington, D.C., pizza parlor housed children who were being held as sex slaves for the capital’s elite, which ended with a Pizzagate theory adherent’s seizing the suspected pizzeria with a semiautomatic rifle in a fruitless search for the children.

Other media have piled on with the “adjacent to the alt-right paranoia” theme. Media Matters for America, the longtime left-wing media observer, said “Sound of Freedom” “offers little more than a fever swamp of right-wing conspiracy theories.”

The Guardian’s reviewer, who said he saw the movie in Manhattan, spun the Variety line with a more acerbic approach by calling “Sound of Freedom” a “QAnon-adjacent thriller.” He then went on to deride the “Sound of Freedom” producers and, apparently, the audience that he saw it with as an “unsavory network of astroturfed boosterism among the far-right fringe, a constellation of paranoids now attempting to spin a cause célèbre out of a movie with vaguely simpatico leanings.”

Ironically, the derision from mainstream media has likely boosted interest in—and support for—the film.

“Sound of Freedom” had already been heavily marketed among right-leaning media outlets, with Steve Bannon’s “War Room” giving it prompts as far back as May, well before its Independence Day release. Now, social media has seized on the mainstream media criticism to drive much more interest than the film—which appears to have had only a minimal marketing budget—might otherwise have had.

Some social media posts, such as a July 10 Twitter post from conservative talk show host Charlie Kirk, promote the notion that evidence of a pedophile network is being suppressed by national media. Mr. Kirk referred to many thousands of immigrant children who have “gone missing,” according to the Department of Homeland Security, then wrote, “Tens of thousands more have fallen victim to massive child smuggling and child labor operations.

“And it’s crickets from the media. And yet, Jim Caviezel and Tim Ballard make one movie about child sex trafficking and the legacy media complex goes into overdrive to discredit ‘Sound of Freedom.’”

Disney—whose one-time “family-friendly” motif has been badly marred by a series of serious gaffes on social issues—had decided to shelve “Sound of Freedom” when it acquired Fox, the original distributors. That decision to pull the film from distribution—although it was one of many Fox productions so pulled—has only fanned the flames of conspiracy that attract audiences.

The people who are concerned about child trafficking whom traditional media call “conspiracy theorists” certainly have plenty of smoke, and even fire, to support their notions that some elites at the pinnacles of global power and influence are secretly pedophiles, preying on children and teenagers. Consider these reports:
  • The goings-on of Epstein Island, the isolated Caribbean island where notorious pedophile Jeffrey Epstein allegedly supplied a whole brigade of international elites with underage girls, have been widely reported, as have his “sweetheart” deals with prosecutors before he was finally jailed.
  • The New York Times reported that former UK Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath, a leading figure in British politics, would have been quizzed by police over child sex allegations had he not died, including the rape of an 11-year-old “rent boy.”
  • The Hollywood Reporter profiled allegations by actor Corey Feldman, who had been one of the child stars in “The Goonies,” that he had been molested “by several hands” as a child actor and that his friend, the late Corey Haim, had been raped at age 11.
  • A man reported to have been arrested in Ukraine just last month is alleged to have bought an 11-month-old baby for $1,000, intending to resell the infant for $25,000 so its organs could be harvested.
It hasn’t helped, either, that many of the things media labeled “misinformation” and “conspiracies”—sometimes for decades—Hunter Biden’s laptop (said to be “Russian misinformation), COVID-19 being made in a lab (now generally accepted), Operation Northwoods (the Joint Chiefs false flag that was intended to trigger an invasion of Cuba in the 1960s)—have proven true with the passage of time.

So let’s be clear: Child trafficking and grooming is a real thing, and so is child sex abuse and slavery. Kelly Johanna Suarez, reportedly the woman trafficker portrayed in “Sound of Freedom,” is said to be in custody. Another woman, a social media influencer, was reported by the Times of London as being accused of being the largest trafficker in Bogotá, Colombia, where prostitution is legal. While she denied trafficking children, others who were arrested in “Operation Vespa,” the operation that caught her, were so accused.

Mr. Ballard’s “raid-and-rescue strategy,” by which investigators identify that people are being sold for sex, then send in police to haul them out and arrest the traffickers, lends itself to drama. But “Sound of Freedom” took dramatic license with his story, and some scenes of the movie—like all “based on true events” movies—are entirely fictional or relate actual events in a different context or venue. His not-for-profit operation Underground Railroad readily admits that artistic license was used in the film.

Putting aside the drama, though, most children and teenagers who are sexually abused are abused by family, family friends, teachers, coaches, clergy, and youth activities leaders, such as camp counselors and scout leaders. Sure, there are “elites” involved, but so too are plumbers, insurance agents, bartenders, dentists, gas station attendants, file clerks, and nurses—everyday people.

Americans need to stop trafficking at our border and assist foreign police agencies in stopping it when we learn of it in other nations. When it is tied to our elites in Hollywood, Washington, business, or sports, we need to pursue the allegations relentlessly, vigorously prosecute those involved, and make examples of them to deter others. But most of all, we need to let children know what constitutes abuse—so-called bad touch—so that they can always come forward and be believed when they relate that they were abused.

God’s children are not for sale, and should never be exploited.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
J.G. Collins is managing director of the Stuyvesant Square Consultancy, a strategic advisory, market survey, and consulting firm in New York. His writings on economics, trade, politics, and public policy have appeared in Forbes, the New York Post, Crain’s New York Business, The Hill, The American Conservative, and other publications.
Related Topics