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Breaking Bad Statues Spark Backlash With New Mexico Conservatives

MovieWeb 8/17/2022 Jeremy Dick
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While Breaking Bad fans might find it amazing that bronze statues of Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) are now standing tall in Albuquerque, not everyone in the state of New Mexico shares that joy. Per Fox News, key conservative figures in the state have condemned the statues by arguing that they glorify drug dealers. For those unaware, Breaking Bad follows a high school chemistry teacher whose cancer diagnosis convinces him to partner up with a former student and produce mass quantities of meth.

Eddy Aragon, a prominent conservative talk radio host in the Albuquerque area and former mayoral candidate, has been among those crying foul. Aragon, who's very familiar with the show and its characters, insists that it's inappropriate to idolize the fictional criminals as they represent the state's real-life drug problems.

"I think what you saw on Breaking Bad should be a documentary, honestly. I think, really, that is the reality in New Mexico. We try to say it’s fictional, but that is the reality, the Jesse Pinkman, the Heisenbergs, the man who is running everything, Gus [Fring], and the way that they’re bringing it in from Mexico is exactly the way that it is right now, so we’ve joked that it should be on PBS. That is, unfortunately, the reality."

According to Aragon, it is also hypocritical to erect Breaking Bad statues after monuments of former presidents and other historical figures were removed in recent years.

"Now we have brand-new statues. Now we’re putting fictional characters out in front. We have Jesse Pinkman and, of course, Heisenberg, and we have now erected statues and our progressive mayor from the city of Albuquerque has stood behind them. We’re funding those, so it’s OK to go get rid of real historical figures and now, somehow it’s even better, to [have] fictional, drug-dealing figures... It’s not the type of recognition we want for the city of Albuquerque, or for our state... We see these guys as good guys, but we don’t even have a bonding system in Albuquerque, the judicial system doesn’t exist, and that’s exactly the problem as more of the criminals continue to commit the crimes without any sort of penalties. This is what happens when you have an America that is destroyed by drug and alcohol dependency, and you see that when you see New Mexico and the purveyors of that are Jesse Pinkman and Heisenberg."

Aragon isn't the only locally-famous conservative putting the statues on blast. State Representative Rod Montoya also had something to say about the situation. Montoya acknowledged the jobs that filming Breaking Bad and its spinoff Better Call Saul brought to the state, but still has issues with "glorifying" two men known for producing high-quality illegal drugs.

"I’m glad New Mexico got the business, but really? We’re going down the road of literally glorifying meth makers?"

Related: Best Episodes of Breaking Bad, Ranked

Albuquerque's Mayor Supports the Statues

There might be some critics of the statues, but ABQ mayor Tim Keller stands by the decision to have them on display in the city. Taking to Twitter after the statues were unveiled, Keller explained how important it had been for the local economy to have the series set in their city. Even if the characters do bad things before eventually getting their comeuppance, the idea is to honor the people behind the show whose efforts have been very beneficial for the people of New Mexico.

"The positive impact that the cast and crew of Breaking Bad have had on our economy and film industry can't be minimized. The franchise has had over $385 million in economic impact, helped elevate local businesses, and employed over 200 locals per episode. The cast and crew of Breaking Bad will always be friends to Albuquerque, and we will be forever grateful to this production for its positive influences on our city."

For better or for worse, Albuquerque will be known as the hometown of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman for many years to come, even if that brings about some differing opinions on the situation.

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