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Sarah Silverman reveals she was recently fired from a movie over her 2007 blackface character

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Comedian Sarah Silverman called Bernie or Bust supporters ridiculous after saying that even though she felt the Bern, she would proudly vote for Clinton.
USA TODAY

Sarah Silverman was recently fired from a movie over an old character she played wearing blackface, she revealed. 

In a podcast interview with Bill Simmons posted Thursday, Silverman touched on Hollywood’s push to increase diversity and call out needlessly offensive storylines. She cited her own work on “The Sarah Silverman Program,” which ran a 2007 episode featuring the comedian in blackface commenting on racism. The comedy sketch show, which ran from 2007 to 2010, chronicled the daily shenanigans of a fictionalized version of Silverman. 

“At 11 p.m. the night before (filming began), they fired me because they saw a picture of me in blackface from that episode,” she said, without offering any details about which movie she was referencing. “I didn’t fight it.”

Silverman had opened up about regretting the episode in in a 2015 interview on “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen,” in which she admitted it “looks totally racist out of context.” In 2018, she told GQ she was “horrified” by the episode, calling it “liberal-bubble stuff, where I actually thought it was dealing with racism by using racism.”

She added: “I don’t get joy in that anymore. It makes me feel yucky. All I can say is that I’m not that person anymore.”

“Now I understand it’s never okay,” Silverman told Simmons, noting the unnamed movie executives “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.”

The comedian said the blackface episode reflected her earlier comedy style, which was to ironically voice the opposite of what she really believed in. She lamented the way quotes could be taken out of context and manipulated to make it sound like she was spewing hatred, rather than sarcastically commenting on things she disagreed with. 

“It’s OK to go, ‘wow, look at this back then: that was so (expletive) up looking at it in light of today, of what we know,'” she said. “But to hold that person accountable if they’ve changed with the times — I’m not saying don’t hold me accountable — but I held myself accountable. I can’t erase that I did that, I can only be changed forever and do what I can to make it right for the rest of my life.”  

‘He is going to get me killed’: Sarah Silverman responds to preacher’s anti-Semitic tirade

Silverman lamented “cancel culture,” which she said has the ability to divide people further, rather than giving them an opportunity to right wrongs. 

“It’s like, if you’re not on board, if you say the wrong thing, if you had a tweet once, everyone is, like, throwing the first stone,” she said. “It’s so odd. It’s a perversion. … It’s really, ‘Look how righteous I am and now I’m going to press refresh all day long to see how many likes I get in my righteousness.’”

She recalled an episode of “I Love You, America,” her short-lived Hulu talk show that set out to inspire positive dialogue between Americans with differing viewpoints, in which she interviewed Christian Picciolini, a former white supremacy leader who now works to advocate for peace and help people leave racist groups. 

“I asked for advice, and he said ‘find someone who does not deserve your love and give them compassion to them anyway because that’s what happened to me.'” she said. “I just feel like, as I draw lines in the sand, and I wish for other people on the left to do this, too, you have to ask yourself: ‘Would I want this person to be changed, or do I secretly want them to stay what I deem as wrong so I can point to them as (expletive) up and myself as right.’ It’s gross.” 

Silverman continued: “There’s so much to genuinely be outraged by, but you have to say ‘is the action I’m taking here creating change or creating further division?'”

‘I’m sorry’: Sarah Silverman apologizes for comments on encounter with Louis C.K.

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