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A one-off joke about the terrorist group Hamas in a “Saturday Night Live” skit prompted a surge of online outrage over the weekend.
In the skit, Martin, Ben and John, the three writers from the comedy group “Please Don’t Destroy,” try to talk a suicidal man portrayed by actor Timothée Chalamet out of jumping from a building window ledge because of his failing music career. At one point, he reveals his band is called “Hamas,” pronounced HAY-Mis.
“Hamas?!” Martin responds incredulously, as the studio audience roared with laughter.
“Oh God, I didn’t think of that,” Chalamet replies.
“Yeah dude, I’m not sharing a song by Hamas on Instagram,” Martin says.
While not central to the sketch at all, even invoking the terrorist group at all fired up a vocal part of the Internet. The show’s Instagram comments on the skit were overwhelmed with negative comments that SNL was making light of “genocide.”
“Such a lowlife joke, shame on you SNL!” one user wrote. “This was disgusting. You had a whole vigil for Ukraine, but you have this for Palestine? May you all met your god and explain,” wrote another.
“Since when is making fun of suicide and genocides cool?” another writes. Another said, “Not funny at all… We know the West is obsessed with centering Hamas because it gets to use terrorism to justify the murder and displacement of innocent Palestinians but this here is surprisingly low.”
“So incredibly disappointed but sadly not surprised. Genocide is not a joke,” another writes.
The joke got write-ups elsewhere, including USA Today, BuzzFeed and HuffPost, which also highlighted the flood of angry social media comments that also were published on X.
“Joking about Hamas is indirectly not taking the genocide seriously, which participates to the Zionist propaganda,” another account wrote on X.
The strange controversy showcased the intense representation of pro-Palestinian voices on major social media sites.
The Washington Post reported Monday on the way #FreePalestine hashtags massively outnumber #StandWithIsrael hashtags on the social media giants TikTok, Facebook and Instagram – the latter two are both owned by Meta.
The pre-taped Please Don’t Destroy sketches have become a popular part of the show in recent seasons, known for their surreal, rapid-fire jokes that often incorporate the show’s host or musical guest that week.
In one, Lizzo demands the writers instantly write her a song after she suffers from writer’s block; another features Jenna Ortega from the show “Wednesday” going with the guys on a disastrous road trip. A 2021 sketch features Taylor Swift writing the bridge to an impromptu song that, to their horror, is about them being “three sad virgins.”
A spokesperson for Saturday Night Live didn’t respond to a request for comment.
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