SNL Continues to Be a Disgrace

[Trigger warning for DV.]

This past weekend, SNL aired a sketch about Tiger Woods' family issues, the entire "hilarious" premise of which was that Tiger Woods' wife Elin beats him with a golf club. The Executive Director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Rita Smith, noted that the sketch "made such a mockery of abuse" and said: "There's nothing funny about this story, particularly if violence was part of the events that took place. ... I hope that SNL refrains from using this kind of skit in the future as it diminishes people's support for victims of domestic violence."

The NCADV's complaint is being widely discussed, typically dismissed as an overreaction and under headlines like "SNL battered over spoof of Tiger Woods spat" and "NBC beat up over SNL spoof." (Actual headlines, to which I'm not linking.)

Something I've not seen mentioned in the discussions I've read, however, is that Rihanna was the musical guest on the show. SNL not only decided it was appropriate to air a "comedy sketch" about domestic violence, but wrote it, rehearsed it, and performed it in front of a survivor of domestic violence who was another guest on the show.

I don't know which I find worse: The possibility she was never consulted about the inclusion of the sketch, or the possibility that she was put in the position of having to give her okay to it, knowing she risks the appearance of being seen as "oversensitive" or "weak" if she says she's uncomfortable with it. All the reassurances in the world to the contrary don't mean much when your approval is being sought to make fun of your own victimization. How can you say "no" without knowing you'll forever be branded with the scarlet H of the chronically humorless?

It's utterly appalling that a survivor would be put in that position. As if the sketch weren't bad enough on its own.

Contact NBC and politely let them know that airing comedy sketches about (unproven allegations of) domestic violence, and making domestic violence survivors tacitly or overtly sign off on mockery of their victimization as a requirement of participation in their shows, is wholly contemptible.

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