Over the past month and a half, the Free Palestine movement has been gaining traction on social media in support of Palestinians amid the conflict with Israel in Gaza. With more than 13,000 Palestinians and 1,400 Israelis killed, it’s more important than ever to speak up and use our online presence to educate ourselves and others. Many leaders and celebrities have spoken up, using their platforms to raise awareness for the cause with many in the Latinx community voice support for the Free Palestine movement. Because of their vocal support, many have been reprimanded, threatened, or terminated for posting and supporting pro-Palestine content and that includes Hollywood celebrities. This week, Mexican actress Melissa Barrera, known for her roles in Vida and In the Heights, was fired from the Scream VII where she was set to play the lead role of Sam Carpenter for reposting pro-Palestine content on her Instagram account. Several of her Instagram stories, including one that called out Western media bias favoring Israel, were reportedly considered antisemitic by the film’s production company Spyglass Media for perpetuating the trope of Jewish people controlling the media.
“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 Spyglass spokesperson exclusively told Variety.
Instagram account @impact shared screenshots of her IG stories where she wrote: “I too come from a colonized country” with the image of the Mexican flag.
Barrera has been vocal on her Instagram stories since October 7th, when an estimated 1,400 Israelis were killed by Palestinian military group Hamas. As the situation has escalated, she’s spoken out about the thousands of Palestinians who have been killed by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and their ongoing treatment in Gaza, writing in an IG story: “Gaza is currently being treated like a concentration camp. Cornering everyone together, with no where to go, no electricity no water…People have learnt nothing from our histories. And just like our histories, people are still silently watching it all happen. THIS IS GENOCIDE & ETHNIC CLEANSING,” reported The Hollywood Reporter. The stories are no longer visible since the publication of this article.
The 33-year-old actress has yet to comment publicly on the firing but it has been reported that Jenna Ortega , who played Sara’s younger sister Tara, will also not be returning to star in Scream VII. It had nothing to do with Barrera’s firing and was discussed before the actors’ strike to accommodate her shooting schedule for Season 2 of Wednesday, according to Deadline. Before this development, fans were calling for Ortega, who has similarly been in support of Palestine on Instagram, to quit the project in solidarity. Some viewers are planning to boycott the franchise altogether in solidarity. Barrera isn’t the only celebrity who has experienced professional losses as a result of her pro-Palestine activism in recent days including Susan Sarandon who was dropped from her talent agency UTA, while pro-Zionist celebrities have apparently experienced no repercussions for their support of Zionism.
Filmmaker Christopher Landon, who is currently slated to direct Scream VII, said in a since-deleted X, formerly Twitter, post, “Everything sucks. Stop yelling. This was not my decision to make.”
Barrera is no longer working with a publicist, Variety reported. She has not made a public statement since the new broke. Her last Instagram post was Oct.27 in a call to action as part of the Artists for Ceasefire movement inviting her followers to call their reps:
“We come together as artists and advocates, but most importantly as human beings witnessing the devastating loss of lives and unfolding horrors in Palestine and Israel.”
UPDATE: Nov. 22
On Wednesday evening, Barrera shared a statement on her Instagram Story, writing, “First and foremost I condemn Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. I condemn hate and prejudice of any kind against any group of people.”
“As a Latina, a proud Mexicana,” she continued, “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. Every person on the earth — regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or socio-economic status — 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. Silence is not an option for me.”
Additional reporting by Virginia Isaad