In November, actor Melissa Barrera was removed from the next installment of the Scream franchise after sharing a series of Instagram Stories expressing support for Palestine.
Barrera, who played a lead role as the daughter of the original serial killer in the two most recent reboots, has consistently posted about the Israel-Hamas war since early October. In her comments, she referred to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land as “genocide and ethnic cleansing.” Another post called Israel a “colonized country.”
Per Variety, she also wrote, “Western media only shows the [Israeli] side. Why do they do that, I will let you deduce for yourself” — a statement some have interpreted as hinting at an antisemitic trope about Jews controlling the media. Barrera also reposted a segment of a Jewish Currents piece entitled “A Textbook Case of Genocide,” which referred to violence against Palestinians as a “distortion of the Holocaust to boost the Israeli arms industry.”
At the same time, Barrera has explicitly expressed sympathy and support for Jewish people, writing in one Story, “Just like all Palestinians are NOT Hamas, all Jewish people are NOT the Israeli Govt.” Another stated, “You can condemn the Israeli Gov, and the US for aiding them, and still want safety and peace and freedom for Jews around the world.”
In November, Variety reported that Spyglass Media Group, the production company behind the last two Scream movies, had removed her from the upcoming Scream VII. The company confirmed to several outlets that Barrera was dropped from the next installment, and said in a statement:
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.
Barrera’s removal came amid major fallout in Hollywood surrounding the Israel-Palestine crisis, most of it involving public figures accused of antisemitism for criticizing Israeli violence against Palestine. Talent agent Maha Dakhil, whose clients include Tom Cruise and Madonna, was nearly fired for promoting posts that used the word “genocide.” Meanwhile, United Talent Agency dropped Susan Sarandon after she made controversial remarks at a pro-Palestine rally.
Christopher Landon, who was set to direct Scream VII, briefly addressed the news in a tweet that he deleted soon after, writing, “Everything sucks. Stop yelling. This was not my decision to make.”
Shortly after Barrera was removed, Deadline reported that her co-star Jenna Ortega had also exited the Scream franchise, apparently for reasons unrelated to Barrera’s departure.
The day after she was fired, Barrera posted a statement to her Instagram Story, writing, “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.”
In January, Barrera discussed the incident in more detail during an interview with Rolling Stone at the Sundance Film Festival. “I’m not the first person that’s happened to, but it was shocking,” she said, adding that her comments came from “a place of human rights and a place of freedom for people, which shouldn’t be controversial. It shouldn’t be up for debate. So, I’m very at peace.”
This post has been updated.