First their was mass protest over Donald Trump merely hosting a Saturday Night Live (SNL) episode last year. Now we have a similar public response over a SNL comedy sketch that made light of heroin opiod addiction on its April 16th show.
This time the controversy is showing more stickiness than the “Donald’s episode. Nearly one week after the heroin satire aired a Massachusetts resident is petitioning for a formal apology from “Saturday Night Live.”
The fake commercial for “Heroin AM,”cast host Julia Louis-Dreyfus and other actors – who joked about casual heroin usage – sparking outrage among some viewers. One of those viewers, Renee Cotton from Hudson, Massachusetts, launched a petition asking Lorne Michaels and the cast of “Saturday Night Live” to apologize.
It shouldn’t be a surprise why the petition emanated from a resident of Massachusetts. It is one of the hardest hit states crippled from the nationwide heroin epidemic. The most recent Massachusetts Department of Public Health data released show overdose deaths from heroin and other opioids remained high for the first six months of 2015.
Cotto deployed the online petition platform Change.org. The petition has received over 9,000 supporters.
“The skit showed utter disrespect to those currently struggling daily with drug addiction and to those who have lost someone to heroin previously,” the petition reads.
Karen Corcoran-Walsh owner of Inspirations for Youth and Families teen drug, alcohol, and mental health treatment center as well as their adult counterpart, the Cove Center for Recovery performed her own “temperature gauge,” study on the public’s sentiment regarding the SNL opiod comical stint.and received mixed results from her company’s extensive digital media following of over 50,000 people,
“We have found through our study that people who have not experienced a friend or loved one who either died or is addicted to an opiod like heroin tend to be more tolerant of the comedy act,” said Corcoran-Walsh. “Conversely, friends or family who have been on the front-lines of the heroin epidemic so to speak were angered by the act.”
“The skit showed utter disrespect to those currently struggling daily with drug addiction and to those who have lost someone to heroin previously,”
Make SNL Apologize petition
“We live in a world these days where everyone is offended over something,” said Jennifer Nash, who responded to the question whether the SNL skit was insensitive. “Saturday Night Live is supposed to be full of sarcasm. You think if someone gets offended that easy don’t watch Saturday Night Live.”
Others did not find any humor in the skit and characterized it as “not funny at all,” or “not really a laughing matter.”
If SNL responds in the same manner as they have in the past to protests on controversial material, it is dubious that the late night sketch comedy and variety show will budge to calls for an apology whether 8,000 or 8,000,000 sign the petition.