SNL under fire for skit on antisemitism hearing

Critics slammed the parody for making more fun of questioner Rep. Elise Stefanik rather than the university heads’ being unable to answer about Jew hatred on campus.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Saturday Night Live’s skit on the congressional hearing last week where three Ivy League school heads could not condemn antisemitism on their campuses was panned by critics who couldn’t understand why the questioner was the focus of the jokes rather than the unacceptable answers.

““I’m going to start screaming questions at these women like I’m Billy Eichner,” opened Chloe Troast, playing Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY). She promptly screeched, “Antisemitism, yay or nay?!”

The focus stayed on her even after the actresses portraying the heads of Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) echoed the real answers these presidents gave at the hearing when asked if calling for the genocide of Jews contravened their code of conduct, that it “depended on the context.”

“You’re going to make me look good, which is really, really hard to do,” said “Stefanik,” and, “Am I winning this hearing? Someone pinch me.”

The congresswoman, who did not raise her voice during the meeting of the House Education and Workforce Committee and only expressed incredulity that these respected women could not simply answer “yes” to her query, was made to look stupid and babyish.

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Negative comments flooded the internet to call out SNL for its skewed reaction to the proceedings.

Digital strategist Greg Price posted, “After three university presidents were universally panned for their testimony about anti-Semitism on campus, SNL decided that @EliseStefanik was the one who embarrassed herself.”

Poster “Libs of TikTok” wrote, “@EliseStefanik handled the pro g*noc*de University Presidents beautifully. So of course SNL mocks her. This is so difficult to watch. Isn’t SNL supposed to be funny?”

Many focused on the political leanings of the satirical show’s writers.

Former U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert commented, “Saturday Night Live hates Republicans more than antisemitism.”

Editor-in-chief Kyle Mann Chief of The Babylon Bee, a conservative Christian news satirical website, added, “Its actually pretty incredible how this skit featured liberals being unwilling to call genocide bad – and they WEREN’T the punchline of the joke. Just shows how unfunny you can get if you’re unwilling to make fun of people on your side.”

Anti-woke journalist Christian Toto called out SNL for doing the “Republicans pounce,” meaning that if a story looks bad for Democrats or progressives, they will turn it around to suggest that the GOP is seizing on the sticky issue, in a way that suggests it is dishonest for them to do so.

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“They did it. They really did it,” he wrote. “SNL did the’ Republicans Pounce’ sketch to deflect attention from Ivy League hate. Amazing.”

All three university leaders were heavily criticized for their non-answers in committee last week, from the Biden administration to alumni donors to members of their boards of trustees. Liz Magill of UPenn already resigned under pressure Saturday, and Claudine Gay (Harvard) and Sally Kornbluth (MIT) may be held to similar account as well. Congress also intends on investigating campus antisemitism at elite universities as a result of the meeting.

The three “heads” were later made to look ridiculous in the sketch by answering nonsensically to questions about whether statements such as the classic exception to free speech – shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater, which could cause pandemonium and possible injuries – was acceptable.