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The Alabama Sorority Doc Created A Witch Hunt Against Girls Who Wore Microphones

If you saw the trailer for "Bama Rush," you might have thought wow... I can't wait to watch these young, highly-stressed women implode emotionally. How on earth did the Alabama sorority MACHINE allow a documentary film crew to penetrate and film their highly competitive, highly selective, likely secretive rush process? 

As it turns out, the documentary kinda sucks. And the trailer, as so many are, was a giant exercise in false hope. Full disclosure, I haven't seen the documentary (and I shan't) but the current Rotten Tomatoes score sits at 9%. Whoof. Apparently the filmmaker honed in on the lives of four girls who rushed but focused more on their struggles as young women than on the process of rush at Bama. That's fine, and a noble subject for a documentary. But she then cut a trailer that had all of us believing this was going to be a BOMBSHELL that ripped back the curtain on the nation's most famous sorority system. 

Alas, that is apparently not what we get. Which, in hindsight, should have been obvious. The powers that be over greek life at these gigantic schools have become somewhat wise to the fragile foundations upon which their corinthian pillars stand. From hazing incidents that end tragically to racist songs sung on school buses, frats and sororities have been shuttered phone video leaks left and right over the past decade. Gotta believe a full MAX documentary team isn't making it past the front door.

But the worst part about this doc is that its filming made everyone suspicious, and some girls were falsely accused of wearing microphones and cut from rush entirely: 

NY Times

Last year, as rumors of a secret documentary swirled at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, many students taking part in sorority recruitment were on high alert.

There was talk of a film crew on campus. More dramatically, there were unfounded whispers that some potential new sorority members... were wearing concealed microphones to capture what went on behind closed doors.

Marina Anderson, 19, was one of the young women whose lives were affected by campus rumors. She said she was dismissed from rush in August after being wrongly accused of wearing a microphone. What caused suspicion, Ms. Anderson said, was a black hair tie she had wrapped around the back of her shirt to make it fit better.

Despite her repeated denials, some of her peers refused to believe she was not participating in the documentary, calling her “HBO girl” for months.

Ms. Anderson added that she had occasionally wondered what she might have missed out on because of the microphone paranoia. “I think the main thing is just that rumors are really dangerous,” she said.

McCarthyism in Tuscaloosa! Gotta feel for Marina Anderson. Being cut from Bama rush is already pretty brutal, since I've heard your membership in greek life is super important for your social standing and overall fun at schools like Alabama. But to be cut for wearing a hair tie that people said was a microphone, and to be called HBO girl on top of that JUST AS HBO IS ONCE AGAIN REBRANDING TO "MAX"?! 

Tough pill to swallow. Oh well, at least she can focus on her studies now.