SNL skits upset recovering drug addicts, and a God’s Not Dead 2 star, who accuses the show of “anti-Christian bias”
Two skits featured in the most recent episode of SNL hosted by Julia Louis-Dreyfus are causing controversy among some viewers for being insensitive to both recovering addicts and Christian conservatives. A fake ad promoting “Heroin AM,” which allows users to consume pills containing the drug, along with caffeine and “a small pile of cocaine” without disrupting their day has led to a petition being circulated seeking the show to apologize for mocking drug addiction, while God’s Not Dead 2 actor Pat Boone is accusing SNL of “anti-Christian bias” for its parody of the recently released film.
“I want to use heroin, but I also want to get stuff done. That’s why I reach for Heroin AM, the only non-drowsy heroin on the market,” said Louis-Dreyfus in the heroin skit. “So I can get jacked on scag, and then get to work.” She goes on to state that the product, which resembles an over-the-counter medicine such as DayQuil, is “now available in gummy bears, which you can melt down and inject.”
In response, an online petition was created on Change.org calling on SNL boss Lorne Michaels to apologize on behalf of the show for the “tasteless skit” that “poked fun of a very real and deadly drug epidemic in America right now.” It goes on to read:
"“The skit was cruel and heartless and involved such previously respected actresses as Julia-Louise Dreyfuss (sic) and several other SNL regular actors. It should (sic) utter disrespect to those currently stuggling (sic) daily with drug addiction and to those who have lost someone to heroin previously. They need to be held accountable. Free speech does not give you the right to be cruel. #takeitbackSNL”"
It has since been signed by over 8,500 individuals, far surpassing its goal of 5,000 and quickly nearing the 10,000 signature mark. A chart during the sketch that admits “heroin use in America is steadily on the rise,” but then jokes that “productivity among heroin users has remained stagnant” seems to have particularly angered people who have been impacted by heroin addiction, many of whom have expressed their displeasure on social media sites like Twitter, with some pointing out that SNL alums such as John Belushi and Chris Farley were lost to addiction. A county sheriff in Wisconsin has also spoken out against the clip, claiming that it glorifies a drug that law enforcement officials see hurting people everyday, making it harder to educate children about the deadly nature of heroin.
Heroin addiction has been on the rise in recent years throughout the country across all demographics, including a rise of 60% in use among those who make over $50,000, with the rate of addiction doubling overall since 2002, according to physician Ford Vox, who called the backlash “off base” in an op-ed for CNN, calling the satirical skit “powerful” because it points out “that high-functioning people are abusing opioids.” Watch the “Heroin AM” skit below and decide for yourself:
SNL also managed to irk some Christians in the same episode with its last sketch of the night in a spoof of the film God’s Not Dead 2. The fake trailer for a film called God is a Boob Man features a Christian baker (played by Vanessa Bayer) who refuses to bake a cake for a gay wedding due to her religious beliefs, so she’s sued and forced to admit that “God is gay,” but instead ends up declaring the film’s title in court. The movie it’s parodying stars Melissa Joan Hart as a public school teacher who is persecuted for answering a student’s question about Jesus. Watch the sketch here:
Boone, a legendary singer and actor who stars in the sequel, called the skit “diabolical” for taking God’s name in vain, and called NBC and SNL cowardly for picking on Christians, but never daring to mock Muslims. He told the Hollywood Reporter:
"“This skit was outright sacrilege. They know if they did this to Muslims they’d have to be put into the witness protection program. There’s nothing sacred at SNL — except maybe the words ‘Mohammad’ or ‘Allah.’ They’d never take those names in vain, but when they called God a ‘boob man,’ they took his name in vain.”"
He added, “As much as I’ve enjoyed SNL, they went over the line, and believers in God deserve an apology.”
It should be pointed out that SNL has mocked ISIS in a skit that starred Dakota Johnson as a recent high school graduate who gave an emotional farewell to her father as she left to join the terrorist organization, and during a Shark Tank spoof in a Chris Rock-hosted episode where members of ISIS pitched their organization to the panel of investors. However, Boone’s comments echo various messages found under the “God is a Boob Man” video on YouTube from self-described Christians who were unhappy with the sketch, with many complaining that the show was mocking their religious beliefs and arguing out that they would never do a skit making fun of Islam.
SNL returns on May 7 with host Brie Larson, who won the Best Actress Oscar for her role in Room, and Alicia Keys as musical guest. It will mark Larson’s first time hosting the show, and the third appearance by Keys.