Actress Melissa Barrera has been ousted from her lead role in the upcoming horror sequel, “Scream VII,” following a string of social media posts addressing the Israel-Hamas conflict. The Los Angeles Times verified that Barrera’s dismissal stemmed from her sharing pro-Palestinian sentiments on social platforms, which some individuals perceived as bordering on anti-Semitic content.
Sources within the production, Spyglass Media Group, initially refrained from commenting on the matter but later confirmed to Variety that Melissa Barrera’s departure was a result of comments they attributed to anti-Semitic implications.
Allegations of Melissa Barrera:
Barrera’s Instagram stories surfaced with statements referencing Gaza’s situation, drawing parallels to a concentration camp, denouncing the treatment and lack of essentials like electricity and water. These posts, including one highlighted by the Hollywood Reporter, were linked to Barrera’s exit from the film. The actress has remained silent, with no immediate response from her representatives concerning her removal from the project.
In the aftermath, Melissa Barrera continued to use her platform to share videos expressing solidarity with the Palestinian cause, advocating for a cease-fire and urging public engagement with representatives. Meanwhile, filmmaker Christopher Landon, set to helm the latest “Scream” installment, briefly addressed Barrera’s dismissal on X (formerly Twitter), expressing discontent with the decision-making process.
Support for Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib, the sole Palestinian American in Congress, was among Barrera’s shared content. Tlaib faced criticism from the House of Representatives regarding her stance on Israel, emphasizing that her critique focused on the government and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s leadership.
Additional posts circulated on Barrera’s feed, emphasizing inclusion over exclusion, highlighting her stance on principles regardless of potential exclusions. This incident arrives against the backdrop of ongoing discussions about representation in Hollywood.
A recent report by the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California revealed stagnant Latino representation over the past 16 years. The report highlighted that only a small fraction, 4.4%, of lead or co-lead roles were portrayed by Latino actors, with less than 1% being Afro Latino. Moreover, the report shed light on prevalent stereotypes where top-billed Latino characters were often depicted as immigrants, low-income individuals, violent criminals, or temperamental personas in popular films.
As debates surrounding representation and social responsibility in the entertainment industry persist, Melissa Barrera’s removal from “Scream VII” underscores the ongoing sensitivity and impact of social advocacy within the realm of Hollywood.