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‘Scream’ actress Melissa Barrera defends Israel-Gaza posts

Melissa Barrera condemned antisemitism and Islamophobia in her first public remarks since producers fired her from “Scream VII” earlier this week. The Mexican actress, who starred in the last two installments of the horror picture franchise, was terminated from the film after controversial social media posts she shared regarding the Israel-Gaza conflict.

In a statement posted to Instagram on Wednesday, Barrera said she plans to “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,” Barrera added.

On Tuesday, Spyglass Media announced that Barrera would not star in “Scream VII” because of social media posts deemed antisemitic by the production company.

“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,” the company said in a statement.

Barrera had been vocal in her support for the Palestinian territories since last month, frequently sharing social media posts from other accounts decrying Israel’s attacks on Gaza, as well as sharing her thoughts on the conflict. Barrera was also one of more than 200 entertainers who signed an open letter to President Biden in October petitioning for a cease-fire.

In her posts, Barrera has described Israel’s actions in Gaza as “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing.”

“Gaza is currently being treated like a concentration camp,” she wrote in one recent post.

Spyglass had yet to formally announce the cast of “Scream VII,” but it was widely expected that Barrera, who starred in 2022’s “Scream” and this year’s “Scream V,” would return. Also this week, Hollywood trade publications announced that Barrera’s co-star Jenna Ortega would not be reprising her role in the franchise.

While Barrera’s fans had lobbied online for Ortega to walk away from the film in a show of solidarity, Deadline reported that the actress’s exit was discussed before the actors strike, which began in July.

According to Variety, Ortega left because of conflicts with the shooting schedule for the second season of her Netflix series “Wednesday,” and it was unrelated to Barrera’s firing.

Now the franchise will move forward without the two actors credited with revitalizing it.

Opinions and feelings about the Israel-Gaza war have caused some fractures in the entertainment industry, and some stars and power brokers have met with professional consequences for their comments.

Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon was reportedly dropped by United Talent Agency after comments she made at a pro-Palestinian rally in New York on Nov. 17, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

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“There are a lot of people afraid of being Jewish at this time and are getting a taste of what it feels like to be a Muslim in this country, so often subjected to violence,” Sarandon said at the rally.

Maha Dakhil, who heads film at Hollywood agency CAA, resigned from the company’s board in October after sharing an Instagram post that stated, “What’s more heartbreaking than witnessing genocide? Witnessing the denial that genocide is happening.”

Dakhil’s comments drew sharp backlash, including from screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, who announced he was dropping her as an agent after her comments. “Maha isn’t an antisemite, she’s just wrong,” Sorkin said in a statement to Variety.

In her Instagram remarks Wednesday, Barrera condemned “any hate and prejudice of any kind against any group of people.”

“As a latina, a proud Mexicana, 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,” she wrote.

“I believe a group of people are NOT their leadership, and that no governing body should be above criticism,” Barrera added. She continued sharing posts from pro-Palestinian accounts afterward.

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