Jenna Ortega Takes Over Horror Franchise, Original Lead Fired Over Palestine Comments

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Jenna Ortega looking horrified in 'Scream 6'

Credit: Paramount Pictures / Spyglass Media Group / Radio Silence Productions

UPDATE: We have reported continuing developments in this Jenna Ortega story here and will continue to as the story goes on.

Jenna Ortega may soon be taking over the lead role in the Scream horror series after a co-star was fired for controversial social media remarks concerning the conflict in Palestine.

Jenna Ortega on the phone in Scream
Credit: Paramount

While Jenna Ortega is best known to audiences for her massively popular Netflix series Wednesday, in which she portrays a psychic teenage version of Wednesday Addams, she already had a lot of experience in the horror genre before being cast.

Ortega currently stars in the rebooted Scream franchise as Tara Carpenter, one of several young women threatened by various killers in the guise of Ghostface. The actress actually kicked off the reboot with the opening scene of Scream (2022), in which she basically performs a new version of the iconic beginning of the first movie, in which Drew Barrymore is questioned about her favorite scary movies by a mysterious voice on the phone.

Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams in Wednesday with trees in the background
Credit: Netflix

Related: Top Stars Replaced By Jenna Ortega in Shocking Move

Jenna Ortega is a key supporting character in the Scream movies, largely playing second fiddle to Melissa Barrera. Barrera portrays Sam Carpenter, Ortega’s estranged elder sister and the daughter of first movie villain Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich). While original heroine Neve Campbell appeared in the Scream reboot (along with Courteney Cox and David Arquette), it’s clear that the series has been positioned around Barrera as a new iteration of the “final girl” horror trope.

Melissa Barrera looking scared in Scream 5
Credit: Paramount

However, Melissa Barrera has been abruptly fired from the upcoming Scream 7 over an Instagram post, paving the way for Jenna Ortega to take on the lead role.

Spyglass Media Group, the production company behind Scream, issued a statement saying “[Our] 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 (per Variety).”

What the company is referring to is a now-deleted Instagram Story in which Barrera claimed that “western media” suppressed the perspectives of Palestinians during the ongoing conflict with Israel, saying, “Why they do that, I will let you deduce for yourself.” Many online commentators were quick to describe this statement as invoking the conspiracy theory that Jewish peoples control global media.

A pro-Palestine Instagram story from Melissa Barrera
Credit: Instagram/@melissabarreram

Related: Disney Sees Backlash, Boycott for Support of Israel

Barrera has previously posted other pro-Palestine statements on Instagram, variously saying, “Gaza is currently being treated like a concentration camp. Cornering everyone together, with no where to go, no electricity no water. People have learnt nothing from our histories. And just like our histories, people are still silently watching it all happen. THIS IS GENOCIDE & ETHNIC CLEANSING.”

Another statement read, “I too come from a colonized country. Palestine WILL be free. They tried to bury us, they didn’t know we were seeds.”

Melissa Barrerra and Jenna Ortega in Scream 6 on the street
Credit: Paramount

At this point, the future of the Scream franchise seems up in the air, but if Spyglass wants a new female lead, they know where to find Jenna Ortega.

Do you think Melissa Barrera was justly fired from Scream 7? Give us your thoughts in the comments below!

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