Comedian Sarah Silverman has admitted she was given the boot from an upcoming movie project after the producers found an old photograph of her wearing blackface.
During an appearance on The Bill Simmons Podcast, Silverman said she had been fired, the night before she was set to begin filming the movie, due to the photograph which had been taken from a sketch that was part of her 2007 comedy series.
Silverman criticized “cancel culture” and how easy it is for those in the public eye to have their careers destroyed over one mistake or one misspoken word which could be construed as offensive, a phenomenon which she dubbed “righteousness porn” and said is primarily driven by the left. “I think it’s really scary and it’s a very odd thing that it’s invaded the left primarily and the right will mimic it,” she said.
“It’s like, if you’re not on board, if you say the wrong thing, if you had a tweet once, everyone is, like, throwing the first stone… It’s so odd. It’s a perversion. It’s really, ‘Look how righteous I am and now I’m going to press refresh all day long to see how many likes I get in my righteousness.’”
Silverman had already apologized for the blackface incident multiple times, even as far back as 2015 when she called it her most “regrettable joke.” She also told GQ Magazine last year that she does not stand by it. “I’m horrified by it, and I can’t erase it. I can only be changed by it and move on,” she said at the time. She also told the magazine that it was “liberal-bubble stuff” where she “actually thought it was dealing with racism by using racism.”
The apology obviously was not good enough for the movie producers, however. Silverman did not mention the name of the film in question, but she had recently been cast to star alongside Jennifer Lopez in a romantic comedy called Marry Me.
It’s not the first time a celebrity has found themselves in hot water over blackface. Earlier this year, co-host of The View, Joy Behar, came under fire for a “beautiful African woman” Halloween costume she donned in the 1970s when a clip of her explaining the moment resurfaced on social media.
Former Fox News and NBC host Megyn Kelly was fired from her daytime talk show last year after commenting that blackface was thought to be acceptable when she was growing up, “as long as you were dressing like a character.”
Politicians and companies have also run into blackface controversies in recent years.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northan came under pressure to resign after an old college yearbook photo in which he wore blackface was unearthed, while fashion brand Gucci removed a woolen, balaclava-style jumper from one of its 2018 collections, after shoppers complained that its style resembled blackface. The brand called it a “powerful learning moment.”
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