Sarah Silverman reveals she was recently fired from an upcoming movie due to a 2007 skit involving her in blackface. The skit is from then comedian’s Comedy Central show The Sarah Silverman Program and was called Face Wars. The episode, which tries to show that being Jewish is possibly harder than being black, was divisive back when it first aired, but things got a little worse when Silverman used a screenshot from a particular scene for a Twitter joke in 2010. Since then, the comedian has apologized many times for what she has said, calling it a poor choice.
The 2007 skit and 2010 tweet have come back to haunt Sarah Silverman. Producers on an upcoming project fired Silverman the day before shooting was to begin, referencing the blackface skit as the main reason. The comedian would not say which movie she was fired from. She explains.
“I recently was going to do a movie, a sweet part… then, at 11pm the night before, they fired me because they saw a picture of me in blackface from that episode… I didn’t fight it. They hired someone else who is wonderful but who has never stuck their neck out. It was so disheartening. It just made me real, real sad, because I really kind of devoted my life to making it right.”
Sarah Silverman did not go into any other details surrounding her recent firing, but she did go further into what she calls “cancel culture.” Over the past few years, we have seen the entertainment industry go through a pretty big shift as social media starts to take over the conversation, which Silverman has dubbed, “righteousness porn.” Silverman had this to say about the current industry landscape.
“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… 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.'”
The blackface skit from The Sarah Silverman Program has come up numerous times over the past few years and Sarah Silverman regrets doing it in the first place. Back in 2015, the comedian deemed it her “most regrettable joke,” and has gone to great lengths to separate herself from it. However, in this current climate, nothing ever disappears from the internet. When talking further about the 2007 skit, Silverman talked about how it makes her feel today. She explains.
“It was like, I’m playing a character, and I know this is wrong, so I can say it. I’m clearly liberal. That was such liberal-bubble stuff, where I actually thought it was dealing with racism by using racism. I don’t get joy in that any more. It makes me feel yucky. All I can say is that I’m not that person anymore.”
Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn was fired by Disney last summer when some old tweets of his resurfaced. The tweets in question featured tasteless jokes about rape, pedophilia, and racism, which the director said he used to get attention back when he wasn’t a huge name in the business. It took the studio nearly a year to reinstate Gunn after carefully considering their options. As for Sarah Silverman, it looks like she might have to keep apologizing for something she did over a decade ago. You can check out the rest of the interview with Sarah Silverman over at The Bill Simmons Podcast.