Saturday Night Live star Michael Che is coming under fire for what many are calling a ‘tasteless’ joke — again.
On Friday, Che jabbed at gymnast Simone Biles, who made headlines this week for bowing out of the Tokyo Olympics to prioritize her mental health.
“Man, I wanna make fun of Simone Biles,” the comedian wrote on his Instagram Story. “I got like 3 mins of Simone Biles Jokes in my head. I’m going to the Cellar tonight to say them into a microphone. As the dorky kids say, I’m choosing violence.”
Following his comments, other Instagram users began sending him suggestions, which Che reshared on his stories.
One such joke referenced Larry Nassar, the disgraced former U.S. gymnastics team doctor accused of sexually abusing over 150 women, including Biles.
“Larry Nassar understands Simone Biles better than anyone,” the re-shared wisecrack said. “He too had to quit doing what he loved at the pinnacle of his career because of mounting pressure.”
“Goddamn, that’s rough,” Che sarcastically wrote in the response. “Absolutely tasteless.”
Another joke read, “Who said black don’t crack?” to which Che replied, “Now that’s a good joke. Economical. Referential. Balanced. Good job.”
It didn’t take long for Twitter to come after the comedian, with many critics calling him out for disrespecting those struggling with mental health and being insensitive to sexual assault survivors.
Following the backlash, Che returned to Instagram (using the same font as the prior posts), alleging that he was hacked and that he “changed his password.”
Minutes later, the comedian wiped his entire Instagram, leaving nothing but an empty grid for his 628K followers.
Of course, this isn’t the first time Che has been under fire for pushing the envelope.
In February, during SNL’s “Weekend Update” segment, Che made a joke that many viewed as transphobic when he went after President Joe Biden’s recent executive order reversing Trump’s ban on trans people serving openly in the military.
“It’s good news, except Biden is calling the policy, ‘don’t ask, don’t tuck,’ which is not good news,” Che said, referring to the old “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that banned gays and lesbians from serving openly from 1993 to 2010.
That same month, he turned his attention to Israel’s COVID vaccination program: “Israel is reporting that they vaccinated half of their population, and I’m going to guess it’s the Jewish half,” he joked.
That joke prompted Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, to tweet out a response:
Responding to the current controversy, Twitter users had a field day. Here are what some folks are saying:
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