[UPDATE: This article has been updated with additional reporting from Variety, a statement from Spyglass, and a statement from Melissa Barrera.]
The fifth installment of the “Scream” franchise was a huge shakeup, with the filmmaking collective known as Radio Silence (“Ready or Not”) taking the reins from the legendary Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson. Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett had an impossible task ahead of them marrying the previous four films featuring Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox), and Dewey Reilly (David Arquette) with a brand new cast of characters now known as the “Core Four,” comprised of Sam Carpenter (Melissa Barrera), Tara Carpenter (Jenna Ortega), Mindy Meeks-Martin (Jasmin Savoy Brown), and Chad Meeks-Martin (Mason Gooding).
“Scream VI” was a bit of a reset for the series, with Neve Campbell leaving the franchise because, as she explained, “I did not feel that what I was being offered equated to the value that I bring to this franchise, and have brought to this franchise, for 25 years.” With Sidney out of the picture and (spoiler alert) Dewey killed in “Scream V,” It looked as if the torch had finally been passed, and the core four would be the future of the slasher series with Gale appearing as a treat.
Well, all of that has changed, because as Variety reports (in their November 21, 2023 print issue) and /Film sources have confirmed, Melissa Barrera has “quietly” exited “Scream VII.” Our sources also confirmed that Barrera’s exit was not part of the original plan.While social media has lit up with fears that Barrera was fired due to pro-Palestinian posts, Variety (and our anonymous sources) have confirmed that her exit was not due to calling for a ceasefire, but for “crossing the line into antisemitism,” (their words, not ours) including, as Variety reported, “an antisemitic trope that Jews control the media.” Variety reposted the print article to their website with added information, reporting that Barrera had posted “Western media only shows the [Israeli] side. Why do they do that, I will let you deduce for yourself.”
They also noted that a rep for Spyglass declined comment and Barrera did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication. [Editor’s Note: Both Spyglass and Barrera have since provided statements which can be read below.]
What does this mean for Scream 7?
As this story is developing, it is likely that the full details regarding Barrera’s exit will continually come to light, and we will update accordingly.
What this means for the future of the Meeks-Martin twins’ has yet to be confirmed but with the “new Sidney” no longer appearing in the film, finding the connective tissue between classic “Scream” and new “Scream” will take some serious creativity.
The casting shakeup isn’t the only change for the “Scream” series, as it was previously announced that “Happy Death Day” and “Freaky” director Christopher Landon would be taking the helm on “Scream VII.” If you weren’t already impressed with Landon’s extensive horror resume, he’s also extremely candid on social media about his love of horror especially slasher films.
Spyglass has also released a statement to Varietyabout Barrera no longer being attached to “Scream VII,” which can be read below.
Statement from Spyglass
The response on social media was swift and incredibly loud, with franchise fans appalled with the decision to remove her from the cast. While Spyglass initially declined to make a comment, a spokesperson released a statement to Variety, which we are sharing in full:
“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. In the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attacks and Israel’s subsequent attacks on Gaza, Barrera has been posting on her Instagram about the conflict, accusing Israel of ‘genocide and ethnic cleansing’ and distorting ‘the Holocaust to boost the Israeli arms industry.'”
Variety also noted that they reached out to a representative of Barrera’s for comment, as it appears she is no longer working with a publicist. They did report that “it is unclear who dropped whom or when the relationship was ended.” The statement from Spyglass did not include any specific screenshots or citations to the exact posts that led to the firing. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t sleuths online trying to deduce which Instagram posts it may have been, but it’s not yet clear if the comment or comments of Barrera’s that Spyglass is referring to are still publicly available, if they were deleted, or if there were additional comments/posts outside of Variety’s reporting. We wish there were more details to support such an extreme accusation and course of action, but we will update as more information becomes available.
Barrera broke her silence the day following the announcement of her exit, and her statement can be read below.
Melissa Barrera breaks her silence
Melissa Barrera took to her Instagram stories to release her statement, which we have transcribed below as Instagram stories disappear after 24 hours. Deadline has also included a screenshot of the story for posterity. As she stated:
“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, 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 this 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. I pray day and night for no more deaths, for no more violence, and for peaceful co-existence. I will 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.”
This statement comes mere hours following the announcement that Jenna Ortega will not be returning for “Scream VII,” although the official provided reason has been scheduling issues.
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