'SNL' skit on US Congress antisemitism hearing sparks outrage

American viewers condemn satire show's attempt to ridicule the hearing, saying the sketch attempted to present university heads in more positive light

The opening sketch that aired on the long-running American satire show Saturday Night Live (SNL) last weekend criticized the U.S. Congress hearings regarding rising antisemitic sentiment on prestigious American university campuses, sparking outrage among viewers.
<< Follow Ynetnews on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TikTok >>
More stories:
The sketch was based on the recent hearing headed by House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik that led to an apology by the president of Harvard University Claudine Gay and Liz Magill's resignation as the president of the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn).
2 View gallery
מתוך מערכון הפתיחה של "סאטרדיי נייט לייב"
מתוך מערכון הפתיחה של "סאטרדיי נייט לייב"
SNL's opening sketch
(Photo: Screengrab)
The skit addressed the leadership of elite universities in the United States, including Harvard, UPenn, and MIT, who were scrutinized during the hearing on their response to the increase in hate crimes and antisemitism on campuses since the beginning of the war in Gaza.
The sketch stirred controversy, with many arguing the show chose to mock the U.S. Congress as a target for satire while portraying the universities’ representatives as more composed and coolheaded. “Antisemitism — yay or nay?” Stefanik’s character yelled in the NBC show’s sketch.
“Yes or no! Is calling for the genocide of Jews against the code of conduct for Harvard? If you don’t say yes, you’re going to make me look good, which is really, really hard to do,” Stefanik’s character added, with MIT president Sally Kornbluth’s character responding: “Could I submit an answer in writing at a later date?”
Stefanik’s character then also added: “I'm here today because hate speech has no place on college campuses. Hate speech belongs in Congress, on Elon Musk's Twitter, in private dinners with my donors, and in public speeches by my 'work husband,' Donald Trump."
Following the airing of the sketch, conservative media personality Meghan McCain wrote: “There is a 400% increase in antisemitic hate crimes since October 7th and SNL thinks it’s hilarious. … This is vile. Vile.”
Professor of Israel Studies Sara Yael Hirschhorn echoed her words. “This is really appalling – NBC do you think antisemitism is acceptable as the punchline of a joke about American society? This needs to be investigated by the FCC,” according to Hirschhorn.
Jake Wallis Simons, editor of the Jewish Chronicle in London, also came out against the skit. “Can’t believe SNL decided to mock those demanding tougher action on Jew-hatred on campus rather than those making excuses for calls for genocide,” he said.
2 View gallery
ססילי סטרונג
ססילי סטרונג
Cecily Strong
(Photo: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Meanwhile, the New York Post reported Monday that former SNL star Cecily Strong was supposed to return to the show for the first time since her departure in December 2022 to play Stefanik’s character. However, she felt "uncomfortable," at the heavily criticized sketch, a source told the U.S. news outlet.
Strong, who appeared as a guest on the episode, changed her mind "at the last minute" about the role, leading actress Chloe Troast to replace her. The show’s opening sketch was the last one written, and was completed in a rush, according to sources.
The commenter agrees to the privacy policy of Ynet News and agrees not to submit comments that violate the terms of use, including incitement, libel and expressions that exceed the accepted norms of freedom of speech.