After starring in 2022’s Scream and its sequel, Melissa Barrera will no longer return to the next entry in the franchise. The actor has been dropped from the Scream VII over her comments on the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, in which she condemned the actions of the Israeli government.
Almost all of Melissa Barrera’s IG Stories about Palestine: A thread. pic.twitter.com/DjrbJWt6RQ— Sam Carpenter TGS stands w/ Melissa Barrera (@OoXLR8oO) October 22, 2023
“Gaza is currently being treated like a concentration camp,” she wrote in one post on Instagram Stories. “Cornering everyone together, with no where to go, no electricity no water…People have learnt nothing from our histories. And just like our histories, people are still silently watching it all happen. THIS IS GENOCIDE & ETHNIC CLEANSING.”
This follows a series of social media posts dating back to a month ago, where Barrera posted a placard that read “I too come from a colonized country” with a Mexican flag logo. “Palestine WILL be free” it continued to read with an italicised quote: “they tried to bury us, they didn’t know we were seeds.”
The posts have been perceived as antisemitic, with a rep from Spyglass Media — the production company behind Scream VI — issuing the statement: “Spyglass’ stance is unequivocally clear: We have zero tolerance for antisemitism or the incitement of hate in any form, including false references to genocide, ethnic cleansing, Holocaust distortion or anything that flagrantly crosses the line into hate speech.”
In the wake of her firing, Barrera took to Instagram Stories to share a post that reads, “At the end of the day, I’d rather be excluded for who I include, than be included for who I exclude.”
Scream VII director Christopher Landon has since weighed in with a now-deleted post, writing, “This is my statement: Everything sucks. Stop yelling. This was not my decision to make.”
The Happy Death Day filmmaker is taking over directing duty from Radio Silence. Filming for Scream VII hasn’t started, but Barrera was set to reprise her role as Sam Carpenter, sister of Jenna Ortega’s Tara Carpenter.
Barrera’s firing, in particular, highlights the double standards of Hollywood and the performative culture it represents. Prior to Barrera’s firing, Oscar winner Susan Sarandon was also dropped by her agency for speaking out against the atrocities committed by the Israeli forces at a rally in New York City.
“There are a lot of people that are afraid, that are afraid of being Jewish at this time, and are getting a taste of what it feels like to be a Muslim in this country, so often subjected to violence,” the actor reportedly said at the rally held on 17 November.
Yet, it’s still business as usual for stars who have expressed pro-Israeli sentiments like Gal Gadot, Noah Schnapp, and Amy Schumer — whose actions and words are, by definition, more than capable of inciting hate. At the most fundamental level, this whole affair boils down to a matter of confirmation bias, and once again, serves as a reminder that entertainment and politics are intertwined, no matter how much audiences and industry professionals want to keep them separate.
Do better, Hollywood.