“Saturday Night Live” star Michael Che has been slapped with accusations of transphobia for including a Caitlyn Jenner joke during the “Weekend Update” segment.
According to TheWrap, Che’s allegedly “transphobic” moment came during a joke about Kanye West when he likened the rapper’s recent behavior to “an old white lady” and suggested West might be transforming into one.
“He’s showing up to events in sweatpants and orthopedic sneakers, listening to Kenny G and trying to get black people to like Trump. It’s like, how long before this guy changes his name to Kathy?” Che said.
It was then that Che referred to Caitlyn Jenner as a “fella” alongside his original name, Bruce.
“Now, you might think that I’m crazy, but about five years ago, there was a fella named Bruce Jenner, and he moved to Calabasas,” said Che.
For that, trolls immediately began scolding Che all over Twitter.
“Imagine deadnaming and misgendering a trans woman.. and implying that kanye west is trans because he’s fuckin weird? Literally where was the comedy in that michael che,” said one Twitter user.
“i really don’t love seeing someone misgendered and deadnamed on a show that i love and admire. something so blatantly transphobic should have never been brought on the air. support trans women, do not treat them as your punchline. snl and michael che need to do better,” said another user.
“Caitlyn Jenner jokes in 2019. Keep crushing it, SNL. Truly innovative stuff from Michael Che,” said another user.
“anyway colin jost and michael che (and other snl writers for sure, but they’re the head writers actually delivering the weekend update jokes) are f**king transphobic and it’s consistent and i’m f**king sick of it,” said another.
Some came to Che’s defense.
“Has America lost it’s mind??? Michael Che did NOT call Caitlyn a fella and did not make fun of transgenders. He said “there was a fella named Bruce Jenner”… 100% factual. We have to hope [SNL] doesn’t cave to this assault on Michael Che‘s character and career!!!” said one user.
The LGBTQ community has repeatedly spoken out against deadnaming on multiple platforms, including Wikipedia, saying it causes “feelings of dysphoria, invalidating their identities, and negatively impacting job prospects.” Wikipedia and Biography.com do not publish names without the consent of the individual being written about. An actor told IndieWire that Wikipedia removed his name after it got published. Twitter also recently updated its “hateful conduct policy” to include “misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals.”
Michael Che is hardly the first comedian to take this kind of heat for making jokes (however innocent) about the transgender community; a full-blown (and failed) cancel campaign has been ongoing against Ricky Gervais for daring to use Caitlyn Jenner as the butt of some his jokes. Here’s how IndieWire described his Netflix special:
The British comedian and creator of “The Office” doubled down on transphobic remarks he made about Caitlyn Jenner while hosting the 2018 Golden Globes, repeatedly using her former name, referring to her as a man, and discussing her genitals and surgery. He did all this while wearing a smug grin and claiming to have a “liberal, progressive attitude” about transgender people.
The war on comedy continues.