“Saturday Night Live” announced that Mexican-American comedian Melissa Villaseñor was hired as the show’s first Latina cast member ever on Sept. 12. The announcement was a seminal moment for representation of Latinos in comedy, but it was completely undercut on Sept. 17, when Grist justice writer Aura Bogado tweeted about Villaseñor suspiciously deleting over 2,000 tweets in less than a week.
Further digging online by Bogado, activist and writer April Reign and others revealed that Villaseñor deleted several old racist tweets, the majority of which target black people and Asians.
In one of the tweets, Villaseñor wrote about being afraid to date black men. In another, she mentions an “ugly,” “bossy black lady” at her job.
As of Friday, both “SNL” and Villaseñor have declined to officially comment on the tweets and the criticism that has been launched against the comedian. She has also blocked Bogado on Twitter.
For April Reign, who helped shed light on Villaseñor’s past tweets, the controversy is an unfortunate one given the historic nature of Villaseñor’s casting.
“Many of us were looking forward to the first Latina to join the ‘SNL’ cast in its over 40 year history. This is long overdue,” Reign told The Huffington Post.
But she added that doesn’t change the fact that Villaseñor’s tweets are disturbing.