Melissa Barrera, who headlined the last two “Scream” sequels, will not reprise her role in the next installment, TheWrap has learned.
The actress, otherwise best known for starring in Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jon M. Chu’s “In the Heights,” has been dropped from the upcoming Spyglass-produced franchise installment.
The decision was made not due to the actress’ vocal online support for Palestine or for calling for a ceasefire (a position supported by 68% of Americans) amid the ongoing Gaza conflict, but due to Barrera posting social media content that stakeholders felt crossed the line into antisemitism.
In a statement to TheWrap provided later Tuesday afternoon, a spokesperson for Spyglass Media said, “Spyglass’ stance is unequivocally clear: We have zero tolerance for antisemitism or the incitement of hate in any form, including false references to genocide, ethnic cleansing, Holocaust distortion or anything that flagrantly crosses the line into hate speech.”
In one such instance, the actress wrote, “Gaza is currently being treated like a concentration camp,” in a since-deleted Instagram post.
Almost all of Melissa Barrera’s IG Stories about Palestine: A thread. pic.twitter.com/DjrbJWt6RQ
— Sam Carpenter The Ghost Slayer (@OoXLR8oO) October 22, 2023
Barrera’s removal from the franchise was not a planned storytelling choice for the Christopher Landon-directed horror sequel, which now finds itself without its leading lady. Barrera — introduced as Sam Carpenter, the “secret” daughter of original “Scream” villain Billy Loomis — was loosely set up as the next generation’s would-be Sidney Prescott. She starred alongside “Wednesday” star Jenna Ortega, who played her younger sister.
After defeating the murderers — including her then-boyfriend — in “Scream” (the fifth entry, released in 2022), Barrera’s Sam went up against apparent copycats in New York City while dealing with online harassment suggesting that she herself arranged the murders. “Scream VI” left open the question of whether she would go down her father’s murderous path or whether she would merely remain a heroine who happened to take a little pleasure in homicide.
Neve Campbell’s Sidney sat out that last chapter, reportedly over a pay dispute between the actress and the producers. The seventh film has neither a title nor a release date, although it can be expected to open theatrically courtesy of Paramount in late 2024 or early 2025.
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