Hollywood actor Zac Efron, who plays Ted Bundy in the just-released new film “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile,” believes that the notorious serial killer of young women and girls had managed to evade capture for so long because of his alleged white privilege.
“Ted Bundy is a vile, vile human being,” he said when asked at the Tribeca Film Festival this week by Fox News whether there’s any part of Bundy he finds redeemable. “There is no part of this at all… I can’t express how much I loathe the man that this movie is about.”
“The fact is that this movie really happened. The fact is that the whole world, literally, all the media, everybody, was capable of believing that this guy was innocent. Talk about white privilege, talk about white… whatever. Every major topic in this movie is bent on showing you how evil this person is.”
Efron blaming Bundy’s successful evasion of capture on white privilege isn’t the first rhetoric he spewed about the movie he stars in.
“Talk about white privilege. What he got away with back then, nobody would be able to do today. It’s a moment in time that came and passed, and it’s truly scary,” he said earlier this week on “Ellen.”
Is there any merit to his claim? The evidence suggests not.
Bundy was executed in 1989, 15 years after his attacks reportedly began. Black serial killer Wayne Williams remains alive, on the other hand. Williams was sentenced to life in prison without parole in 1982 for killing two men in Atlanta. However, authorities have long suspected he killed at least 23 people during a series of murders that rocked Atlanta between 1979 and 1981.
Everybody always talks about Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer, what about the Atlanta Child Murders Wayne Williams killed 30 kids in 2 years. #TrueCrime
— ?Andrea? (@Tao_30) February 10, 2019
Remember the D.C. sniper murders in 2002? It took the authorities so long to capture the perpetrators, John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, in part because they were black.
“[C]riminologists, psychologists, sociologists and others who seek to create profiles of such killers generally portrayed the sniper as a white male, probably in his 30s or 40s, who was a loner with weapons training in his background. Many also suspected he might be a government worker,” the Chicago Tribune reported following their capture on October 24, 2002.
“Few of those experts said they expected the sniper to look or act like suspect Muhammad: an unemployed black man, working with a teenage boy, making fairly frequent efforts to communicate with law enforcement and demanding $10 million.”
RT @CNN: D.C. Sniper John Allen Muhammad executed. http://bit.ly/3ydk2k> memba this guy n how everyone thought he was white? smh
— Valerie (@510050) November 11, 2009
What about Bundy — how did he evade capture for so long?
For one, neither DNA profiling nor social media existed at the time, making it much more difficult for the authorities to track and apprehend criminals. It also helped that Bundy was cunning.
According to Oxygen, a true crime TV network, he constantly changed his appearance to keep cops guessing: “He went from clean-cut and boyish to shaggy and sideburns-y to mustachioed to mountain man-esque during his crime spree.”
His “handsome” looks also helped: “He used his handsome, everyman appearance to his advantage.” This sounds more like good-looking privilege, not white privilege …
He was also a charmer: “The fact that he was ‘normal-looking,’ social, and smart allowed him to glamor people and play whatever role necessary to deceive both his victims and those closest to him.”
Bundy likewise constantly kept on the move to reportedly “camouflage what he was doing.” This was possible because back then the nation’s thousands of law enforcement departments weren’t as connected as they are today via emails, video conferencing, social media, etc.
“Even as a string of murders and disappearances plagued Utah right after Bundy moved there from Washington State, which was also dealing with its fair share of heinous crimes against several young women, police units in both states couldn’t connect the dots,” Oxygen notes.
“Robert Keppel, the lead investigator in the case in Washington, described taking phone calls from anybody who had a shred of info, while Seattle homicide detective Katy McChesney talked about working 14-hour days on the case.”
These days law enforcement officials have access to shared federal databases that make it significantly easier for police departments to share information and track suspects.
Back then the technology was so undeveloped and Bundy so cunning, for a lack of a better word, that he even managed to sidle into the criminal justice system by working as an assistant director at the Seattle Crime Prevention Advisory Commission.
While there he reportedly wrote a rape-prevention pamphlet …
It’s clear Bundy was a very slick man who used every tool at his disposal to fool the authorities and evade capture, including but not limited to his looks, his charming personality, the authorities’ lack of communication/technology and even the criminal justice system itself.
And while there’s no way to conclusively prove that his race hadn’t played a role in his ability to evade capture, the fact that plenty of non-white serials killers also succeeded in evading capture for years (and sometimes even decades) suggests Efron’s theory is a very dumb one.
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