‘Variety’ Honors Amy Schumer—Who Called Gazans ‘Rapists’—for Being ‘Outspoken’

Since the start of Israel’s war on Gaza, which has killed over 34,000, Schumer has shared a range of disturbing posts yet is being celebrated as someone who's "used to pissing people off."

‘Variety’ Honors Amy Schumer—Who Called Gazans ‘Rapists’—for Being ‘Outspoken’

This week, Variety rolled out its “Power of Women” series to honor a select group of women in the entertainment industry and, bafflingly enough, Amy Schumer was one of those women. In a lengthy profile celebrating Schumer’s “outspokenness,” Variety makes the incredibly frustrating choice to portray Schumer as something of a victim of cancel culture, misogyny, and overly zealous activism from pro-Palestine activists, offering little context into why, exactly, Schumer is the object of so much warranted criticism and backlash.

The profile details one instance where Schumer was filming an upcoming project in Brooklyn when a woman walked by and yelled: “Fuck you, Amy Schumer! You’re a Zionist! You love genocide!” To this, Schumer tells Variety, “It didn’t even raise my heart rate. I didn’t cry. Nothing.” (I can only assume that we, the reader, are supposed to find this brave and inspiring…?) “Of course what’s going on in Gaza is sickening, horrifying and unthinkable,” she said, which is universes away from what she was saying in the fall. “And, I don’t think it’s OK to hate anyone because they were born Jewish.” At different points throughout the interview, Schumer talks about being misunderstood and says she doesn’t “agree with anything” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is doing and opposes the Israeli government’s actions in Gaza which have killed over 34,000 Palestinians in six months.

Except there’s not too much to misunderstand about what Schumer has previously said about Gaza. In October, after Hamas attacked Israel and took 200 Israelis hostages and Israel responded by bombarding Gaza and killing thousands of people within days, Schumer shared multiple inflammatory posts on Instagram. One post stated that “Gazans rape Jewish girls” and mocked pro-Palestine activists with a cartoon depicting someone carrying a sign that said, “PROUD OF OUR RAPIST MARTYRS.” She shared a separate post claiming without evidence that Palestinians, not Israeli forces, bombed their own hospital, killing dozens.

Schumer also shared another post that seemed to accuse immigrants, Black people, and queer people of betraying Jewish people for supporting Palestinians or for not sufficiently standing with Israel: “FIRST THEY CAME FOR LGBTQ AND I STOOD UP, BECAUSE LOVE IS LOVE. THEN THEY CAME FOR IMMIGRANTS AND I STOOD UP, BECAUSE FAMILIES BELONG TOGETHER. THEN THEY CAME FOR THE BLACK COMMUNITY AND I STOOD UP, BECAUSE BLACK LIVES MATTER. THEN THEY CAME FOR ME, BUT I STOOD ALONE, BECAUSE I AM A JEW.” Schumer then shared a video of Martin Luther King Jr. denouncing antisemitism. King’s daughter, Bernice, responded and had to explain to Schumer point-blank that her father opposed antisemitism, yes, and would also oppose Israel’s inhumane attacks. “I am certain he would call for Israel’s bombing of Palestinians to cease, for hostages to be released,” she said.

Despite this, Variety’s profile of Schumer heavily leans into a feminist narrative of her bravery and victimization. Jennifer Lawrence says of her friend, “Amy’s choice to use her voice to speak for justice puts her under immense fire. I wouldn’t say she navigates it so much as she throws her middle fingers up and walks away from negative comments like a gas station fire in a Michael Bay movie.” Cool! There’s famously nothing more badass than being a woman who uses her massive platform and influence to spread racist, warmongering misinformation.

Reading the profile feels like being transported to an alternate dimension or staring into a fun-house mirror. For months now, Israel has perpetrated horrific war crimes against Palestinians in Gaza—with U.S. funding and weapons, no less—that are implicitly justified by the hateful misinformation Schumer has shared. And unlike artists, actors, and other figures in the entertainment industry—disproportionately people of color—who have lost opportunities and representation because of their opposition to the war and support for Palestinian rights and self-determination, Schumer herself has lost approximately zero opportunities despite sweepingly labeling an entire people as “rapists.” Believe it or not, being mocked on social media or occasionally heckled in the streets as a multi-millionaire white woman isn’t quite the same as losing your livelihood or, say, living through war. 

But Schumer, Variety insists, is somehow the brave one, here. I could not roll my eyes back any further if I tried.

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