Melissa Barrera´s firing condemned by more than 1300 artists
Courtesy Paramount Pictures/Latin Times

FLORIDA - In an unprecedented move, over 1,300 artists, including high-profile figures, signed an open letter condemning what they see as a "growing trend of censorship" against those speaking out on the Palestinian cause. This movement has gained significant attention with the recent dismissal of Melissa Barrera, the acclaimed star of "Scream VII," cited as a prime example of such censorship.

Published by Artists for Palestine UK, the letter has garnered support from notable names such as Oscar-winner Olivia Colman, Harriet Walter of "Succession" and "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," Aimee Lou Wood from "Sex Education," and Siobhán McSweeney of "Derry Girls," among others.

In the letter, the artists are calling out what they perceive as a systemic issue in Western cultural institutions, where Palestinian voices and perspectives are allegedly being "repressed, silenced, and stigmatized".

The Melissa Barrera firing

The letter highlights a range of incidents, predominantly in the UK's arts and literature scene, but also includes the international incident involving Barrera. The news of her firing broke on November 21, following a series of her social media posts about the conflict in Gaza.

This decision has since sparked widespread controversy and debate on social media platforms. Interestingly, it was later revealed that Jenna Ortega, Barrera's co-star, would also not return for "Scream VII," though her absence is reportedly due to scheduling conflicts with the series "Wednesday."


Melissa Barrera was fired from Scream VII for using words like “gen<0>cide” and “ethnically cleansed” when speaking about Palestinians in Gaza. I guess we’re adding Scream VII to the boycott list 👋🏽 #melissabarrera #freepalestine

♬ original sound - Nuha

The artists criticized the decision for Barrera's dismissal and many others affected by similar comments as being a dangerous form of censorship that results in "targeting and threatening the livelihoods of artists and arts workers who express solidarity with Palestinians".

According to Spyglass, the company that produces "Scream", Barrera's firing wasn't because she supported the Palestinian cause.

"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 told Variety.

Barrera is not the only one

Other cited examples of alleged censorship include the cancellation of artist Ai Weiwei's London exhibition, the dismissal of David Velasco from Artforum, and Palestinian author Adania Shibli being disinvited from the Frankfurt book fair's LiBeraturpreis award. These instances are framed within the context of a United Nations statement emphasizing the importance of free speech regarding the Gaza/Israel conflict.

The letter underscores the importance of freedom of expression as a cornerstone of both the arts and democracy, as enshrined in the Human Rights Act and the European Convention of Human Rights. The artists assert that staying silent in the face of perceived injustice is a "moral failure", and that silencing those who speak out is a legal and ethical breach.

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