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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Guardian staff

‘Silence is not an option’: Melissa Barrera responds to being fired from Scream VII over Israel-Hamas posts

‘Every person on this earth deserves equal human rights’ … Melissa Barrera.
‘Every person on this earth deserves equal human rights’ … Melissa Barrera. Photograph: Michael Buckner/Variety/Getty Images

Scream franchise star Melissa Barrera has publicly responded to being fired from Scream VII for sharing posts that the film’s production company says were interpreted as antisemitic. The actor said that she condemned antisemitism and Islamophobia but would “continue to speak out” on the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Barrera, who starred in the fifth and sixth Scream films and was set to star in the forthcoming seventh instalment, has been outspoken in support of Palestine on social media, where she has described Israel as committing “genocide” and “brutally killing innocent Palestinians, mothers and children, under the pretence of destroying Hamas”.

“Western media only shows the [Israeli] side. Why do they do that, I will let you deduce for yourself,” she wrote on 22 October, adding: “We don’t need more hate. No Islamophobia. No antisemitism.”

On Tuesday, Barrera was fired from Scream VII by production company Spyglass Media, who confirmed to Variety that the decision was due to some of her social media posts, which were interpreted as antisemitic.

“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,” a Spyglass spokesperson told Variety. The Guardian has not confirmed which posts Spyglass was referring to.

In a since-deleted post to X on Tuesday, Scream VII director Christopher Landon wrote: “This is my statement: Everything sucks. Stop yelling. This was not my decision to make.”

On Wednesday, Barrera issued a statement on Instagram stories. “First and foremost I condemn antisemitism and Islamophobia. I condemn hate and prejudice of any kind against any group of people.

“As a Latina, a proud Mexicana, I feel the responsibility of having a platform that allows me the privilege of being heard, and therefore I have tried to use it to raise awareness about issues I care about and to lend my voice to those in need,” she continued.

“Every person on this earth … deserves equal human rights, dignity and, of course, freedom. I believe a group of people are NOT their leadership, and that no governing body should be above criticism.

“I pray day and night for no more deaths, for no more violence, and for peaceful co-existence. I will continue to speak out for those that need it most and continue to advocate for peace and safety, for human rights and freedom. Silence is not an option for me.”

Scream VII was thrown into further disarray on Wednesday when Barrera’s co-star Jenna Ortega reportedly pulled out of the film due to a scheduling conflict with the second season of Netflix show Wednesday. Ortega and Barrera both starred in the previous two Scream films as sisters Tara and Sam Carpenter.

Barrera is the latest person in Hollywood to come under fire for posts and actions in relation to the war between Israel and Hamas.

On Tuesday, Susan Sarandon was dropped from Hollywood talent agency UTA after speaking at a pro-Palestine rally. The Oscar-winning actor drew criticism for saying: “There are a lot of people afraid of being Jewish at this time, and are getting a taste of what it feels like to be a Muslim in this country.”

And last month, Maha Dakhil, the co-head of film at Hollywood agency CAA, resigned from the agency’s board after a backlash to her shared Instagram posts that read, in part: “What’s more heartbreaking than witnessing genocide? Witnessing the denial that genocide is happening.” Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin subsequently announced he was leaving CAA, saying “Maha isn’t an antisemite, she’s just wrong.”

Dakhil later issued a public apology. “I made a mistake with a repost in my Instagram, which used hurtful language,” she said. “I’m sorry for the pain I have caused.”

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