Stand-up comedian Sarah Silverman has assembled a healthy collection of movie and TV credits over the years, and one of the biggest examples of her small screen work was The Sarah Silverman Program, which aired on Comedy Central from 2007 to 2010. Although the show received a lot of positive reception and Silverman was nominated for an Emmy, it wasn’t without controversy, as there was an episode in 2007 that received flak for Silverman putting on blackface.
As it turns out, that episode is what led Sarah Silverman to recently losing a “sweet part” in an upcoming movie, and at the last minute too. Silverman explained:
At 11 p.m. 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 didn’t say which movie it was she was fired from, although it was reported last month that she was in negotiations to appear in the Jennifer Lopez-led comedy Marry Me (which was also eyeing Game of Thrones’ John Bradley), so perhaps that was the project.
Still, it just goes to show that Sarah Silverman’s decision to don blackface is still dishing out consequences more than a decade after that episode of The Sarah Silverman Program, titled “Face Wars,” aired on TV. The episode saw Sarah trying to prove that it was harder being Jewish than black, and went about doing so in a most unfortunate way.
Even back in 2007, Sarah Silverman in blackface earned a lot of derision, and “Face Wars” has not been made available to watch online. In the years since, Silverman has condemned that episode, saying last year that she’s “horrified” by it and is “not that person anymore.”
But as she also said during her appearance on The Bill Simmons Podcast, Sarah Silverman also finds it “really scary” that one mistake from an individual’s past along these lines can have such lasting ramifications on their career, even if said individual has been held accountable and tried to make amends. For instance, Silverman noted that addressed this mistake during an episode of her more recent show, Hulu’s short-lived I Love You, America with Sarah Silverman.
The situation is similar to how James Gunn was fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 last year after controversial tweets he’d posted a decade ago resurfaced, despite the fact that Gunn had apologized in the past for what he’d put online. The difference there is that Disney eventually rehired Gunn, whereas it doesn’t sound like Silverman will be getting this movie role back.
As it stands now, it’s unclear where Sarah Silverman will pop up in the movie and/or TV realms next. Her more recent credits include Masters of Sex, Crashing, The Book of Henry, Battle of the Sexes and Ralph Breaks the Internet.
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