The Scarlet Letter Reports: A Review

Seven days ago, Broadly released their first episode of “Scarlet Letter Reports” on Facebook Watch. In this show, host Amanda Knox interviews women who have been vilified by the media to hear their stories and learn how they have rebuilt their lives in the aftermath.

So far, only three episodes have been released profiling Amanda Knox, Anita Sarkeesian, and Amber Rose. According to Broadly’s description of the show, the plan is to profile five women in total. The latest episode with Amber Rose was uploaded only nine hours ago.

The format for each episode is simple. Knox travels to the homes of her subjects to interview them personally. She tours their homes, sits on their couches, and guides the interviews with cutaway footage and her narration coming in every so often to give further background on each lady’s story. At the conclusion, Knox will talk about what her subject has taught her personally and the episode concludes with credits. Each video is less than 10 minutes long, making them easy to binge if you have an hour to spare.

The episodes are well-made, something everyone has come to expect of Vice at this point, but that is not what makes them worth the watch. Their value comes from the fact that Amanda Knox does what she sets out to do. Each episode has been powerful enough to leave an impression on me and make me reflect on my own life and responsibilities as someone in the media, a person with a free voice, and as a woman.

The scarlet letter in the title is a reference to the book of the same name in which a woman in Puritan New England is publicly humiliated and forced to wear a scarlet letter as punishment for her extramarital affair. For years to come, she is vilified in the community and essentially ostracized. Knox shows how this kind of treatment happens to the women of today and how they deal with being given a modern day scarlet letter.

Whatever you think of the women being interviewed, their stories are poignant enough to make you pause on your own life and how you talk about other people. That’s important.  Because as the Bible says, the tongue can be a source of fresh water or a source of poison and both have their consequences.

Any show that can make that truth hit home is worthy of a watch.

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