Melissa Barrera on Posting About Palestine: ‘It Seems Weird to Have a Platform and Not Use It’

In a new interview, Melissa Barrera spoke about getting fired from Scream and continuing to lend public support to Palestine.

Melissa Barrera on Posting About Palestine: ‘It Seems Weird to Have a Platform and Not Use It’

On Thursday, The Hollywood Reporter published a rather bleak profile of Melissa Barrera in which the former Scream heroine recalled the immediate aftermath of speaking out in support of Palestine online following October 7—and the ramifications she faced as a result (most notably, being fired from the Scream franchise).

“It’s definitely hard, because I was just in such a cloudy state of mind, but I was very fortunate,” she told the publication  “through tears.” “I had a lot of support from the people around me: my team and specifically my publicists—they just carried me.”

Should you have missed what exactly Barrera posted, two weeks after the conflict began she wrote on Instagram: “Gaza is currently being treated like a concentration camp. Cornering everyone together, with no where to go, no electricity no water…THIS IS GENOCIDE & ETHNIC CLEANSING.” In a separate post, she wrote: “Western media only shows the other side. Why they do that, I will let you deduce for yourself.”

In response, she—one of the two definitive leads—was swiftly let go from the franchise by Spyglass Media Group which produces the films. In a public statement, they likened her posts to antisemitism and called her “reference to genocide” false. (Over 33,000 people in Gaza have been killed since October, according to Al Jazeera’s most updated death toll.)

“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,” a spokesperson for the company told Variety at the time. In the Hollywood Reporter profile when asked if she was given any warning by Spyglass to “tone down” her public stances before being terminated, Barrera responded: “Not at all.”

None of this is exactly surprising given how Hollywood has responded to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza by and large. On the industry’s biggest night, the Academy Awards, Jonathan Glazer was the only attendee—and winner—to address the atrocities in Palestine apart from say, wearing a pin. While accepting his award for Best International Film, he said, in part: “Right now, we stand here as men who refute their Jewishness and the Holocaust being hijacked by an occupation, which has led to conflict for so many innocent people. Whether the victims of October 7 in Israel or the ongoing attack on Gaza, all the victims of this dehumanization, how do we resist?”
One week later, hundreds of creatives—from agents to producers to actors—signed an open letter in condemnation of his remarks. Other celebrities who’ve posted their support for Palestinian liberation online—Mark Ruffalo, for example—have largely evaded similar backlash.

Barrera told the outlet that she thinks women of color are those most punished when it comes to taking public stances. “It’s very evident that that’s the case,” she said. “All I can say is that it is very important for me to raise my voice for those who don’t have one. It seems weird to have a platform and not use it for that.”

And how does one say it better than that?

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