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Hayden Panettiere Defends ‘Scream VII’ Co-Star Melissa Barrera, Calls Her Firing “Very Upsetting”

In a recent interview, Scream series actress Hayden Panettiere called the firing of the films’ franchise star Melissa Barrera last month “very unfair and upsetting.”

Barrera was dropped from Scream VII following social media posts commenting on the Israel-Hamas conflict. At the time, Spyglass Media cut Barrera, saying in a statement, “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.”

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Panettiere said she thought her co-star was singled out.

“After she [spoke out], then a whole bunch of other actors and people in the industry started to do the same thing, right? It was almost like she just did it earlier than everyone else.”

Barrera later called dismissal was “shocking,” since she’d been playing the lead role of Sam Carpenter since 2022’s Scream V.

“It was shocking,” Barrera told Rolling Stone. “I don’t even know what to say. I think everything that happened was very transparent, on both sides, and I know who I am, and I know that what I said always came from a place of love and a place of humanity and a place of human rights and a place of freedom for people, which shouldn’t be controversial. It shouldn’t be up for debate.”

Barrera hasn’t abandoned her stance. Barrera last week joined almost 100 protestors marching down Main Street at the Sundance Film Festival chanting a controversial mantra.

Panettiere said she reached out to her co-star after Spyglass let Barrera go.

“Melissa is such a badass as a human being and as an actress,” said Panettiere. “…She was hurt by it, but I think she took it in stride and was very, very gracious about it.”

Earlier this month, at the MPTF’s 17th Annual Evening Before Gala, Barrera, Ortega and a slew of actors from the last two Scream movies reunited for a photo that was posted on Instagram. The image included Jasmin Savoy Brown, Mason Gooding, Liana Liberato, Tony Revolori, Jack Quaid and Barrera’s on-screen father and OG Ghostface Skeet Ulrich.

Asked about the support she’s received and specifically about that photo, Barrera told Deadline, “We’re family for life. If we’re ever in the vicinity of each other, we always find each other and that’s what happened at that event.”

After news that Barrera would no longer continue in the Scream franchise, her on-screen sister, played by Jenna Ortega, also dropped out, citing scheduling conflicts with Netflix’s Wednesday.

In the same interview, the reporter asked about Ortega’s exit saying, “That didn’t seem like the whole story. It seemed like there was some sisterhood-solidarity going on.”

“Listen, Jenna is a good egg. She’s a good person and we love each other. She would show up for me and I would show up for her no matter what,” Barrera added.

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