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They Live (1988)

John Carpenter is fighting with neo-Nazis on Twitter

White supremacists think that his cult classic They Live is an allegory about Jewish control

John Carpenter has been forced to hit back at neo-Nazi conspiracy theorists, who believe that his 1988 film They Live is a secret propaganda vehicle for white supremacy. According to them, the cult classic is actually an allegory for Jews controlling the world. According to Carpenter, it’s really, definitely, not. 

The iconic director took to Twitter on Wednesday to shoot down the conspiracists, calling their theories “slander and a lie”.

They Live is about yuppies and unrestrained capitalism,” he clarified. “It has nothing to do with Jewish control of the world.”

The film, which came out at the tail end of the Reagan era, is a satirical sci-fi about the dangers of unchecked capitalism and consumerism. It follows the story of a drifter named John Nada, who learns that the ruling class are actually aliens who have infiltrated American society. Using “special sunglasses”, he begins to see the extent of their control on the public, as well as their secret subliminal messaging. 

The notion that They Live is actually an anti-Semitic allegory has been around for a while, gaining popularity – surprise – on various 4chan, Reddit, and white supremacy forums. “The Jews really are the aliens controlling everything,” one Stormfront user wrote in 2008. “Living among us and we don’t even know it.”

Carpenter has since elaborated on his original tweet, calling the whole debacle “absolutely foolish”.

“It’s all really simple,” he told LA Weekly yesterday. “There was somebody on my Twitter feed who was talking about They Live being about the Jews trying to control the world, and I thought, ‘You know what? No, that’s bullshit. And I’m not going to allow that.’”

“It’s a brave new world, and I don’t understand it,” he added. 

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