Live From New York, It’s Black Man Fright
September 28th, 2016 – Melissa Villasenor, Saturday Night Live’s newest cast member is bringing the wrong kind of attention to the long-running comedy program after she deleted thousands of her tweets. Villasenor first gained mainstream attention as a finalist on the talent variety show, America’s Got Talent, in 2011. The Mexican-American comic next displayed her rapid-fire impressions as a part of the Latinx-focused “Mas Mejor” digital showcase. SNL producer Lorne Michaels’ production company is behind “Mas Mejor” and Villasenor’s comedy chops led to an audition for the iconic weekend sketch show.
Villasenor is the first full-Latina cast member in the program’s over thirty year history but a week of deleting her Tweet history may put the brakes on her sudden rise. Writer Aura Bogado first noticed the string of anti-black, anti-Mexican and other insensitive comments aimed at people of color on Villasenor’s Twitter feed dating back to 2000. Sharp-eyed bloggers like April Reign have shared screencaps of some of over 2,000 now deleted posts where Villasenor joked about fearing black men and hating Mexicans. The comic even insulted music megastar Beyonce in one Tweet, perhaps drawing the greatest ire online.
There has been no official response from SNL nor has Villasenor made any public statement on the controversy. She has, however, taken to blocking some of her most vocal critics including Bogado.
— Aura Bogado (@aurabogado) September 22, 2016
Villasenor is not the first comedian to come under fire for comments on social media made prior to them securing a mainstream media profile. Popular South African stand-up comic, Trevor Noah, current host of The Daily Show, was similarly lambasted after a series of off-color remarks about Jews were unearthed on his social media accounts once he was announced as the replacement for long-time host, Jon Stewart. While Noah was able to survive the scandal and continue his career, it remains to be seen whether or not Villasenor’s tenure on SNL will be affected before it starts as a result of her online offense.
What did you think about Melissa Villaseñor’s pre-SNL tweets and do you think it will have any affect on her comedic career?