The Most Controversial Moment In American Horror Story: Asylum

With several seasons under its belt, American Horror Story has definitely ruffled a few feathers over the years. Controversial AHS moments can be found in almost every season, and some are definitely worse than others. In fact, even a few fellow AHS veterans like Evan Peters have felt uncomfortable during certain scenes. Although the show is no stranger to touchy subjects, the show's second season, titled Asylum, definitely stirred up some trouble. 

Primarily taking place in Briarcliff Manor, a mental institution, the show had a variety of characters that were either wrongfully imprisoned or a massive danger to society. However, one of Briarcliff's most infamous residents was Charlotte Brown, a young mother who believed she was Anne Frank. While the character did help reveal the horrific history behind Briarcliff's doctor, Arthur Arden, Charlotte wasn't received well by critics. In fact, the introduction of this character forced the show's creator, Ryan Murphy, to do some explaining later down the line.

An Anne Frank character was a misguided decision by Ryan Murphy that he still stands by

The entirety of Charlotte's character and arc came under fire after the airing of the episode, "I Am Anne Frank," which introduced viewers to the Briarcliff patient. Halle Kiefer, a writer from Rolling Stone was confused and displeased with the inclusion of a character that was based on a real historical figure that went through real trauma. In a review of the episode, Kiefer criticized the character. "Next time we see her, the woman is writing in her journal in the Briarfcliff common room, because she's Anne Frank," Kiefer wrote. "Her journal is even named Kitty. Oh lord, Anne Frank was a real person. It just isn't done! Am I being too delicate about this?"

The introduction of this character was brought to Ryan Murphy's attention in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. During the discussion, Murphy explained that having a character that believed they were Anne Frank was telling of the time period the series took place in. "The Anne Frank thing was always interesting to me because after the war...there were many women who came forward after that diary said, 'Well I'm the real Anne Frank,' and they were struck down," he said. "Many of them were found to be mentally ill and suffering from schizophrenia." 

While the character was used as a plot device to point out the fact that Dr. Arthur Arden was a Nazi, it might've not been the best way to go about doing so. This wouldn't be the first time that American Horror Story tries to do something weird with a historical figure. This can be seen in the show's eighth season, Apocalypse, when the murdered Russian princess, Anastasia Romanov, was shown to be a witch in a flashback. Perhaps Murphy really does have a knack for turning historical figures into something grander. But in the case of Anne Frank, he may have missed the mark.