The Real Reason ‘Saturday Night Live’ Didn’t Joke About Harvey Weinstein

Saturday Night Live was criticized this weekend for not mocking Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, who The New York Times had recently reported had been accused of sexual harassment and assault by numerous women over the course of decades in the industry. So why is it that Saturday Night Live, a show that typically takes on everything in the news, had nothing to say about Weinstein?

On Sunday, The Daily Mail asked Lorne Michaels about this, and he simply responded, “It’s a New York thing.” This was reported as Michaels and the show choosing not to make fun of Harvey Weinstein because he’s from New York. But obviously that doesn’t really make sense considering how many people the show mocks despite being from New York, including Donald Trump himself. Many conservatives have been critical of Saturday Night Live for leaving Weinstein out of the show, suggesting that they’re not willing to take on a fellow member of the entertainment industry.

Harvey Weinstein in 2017

Harvey Weinstein in 2017. | Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

However, it seems like what Lorne Michaels actually meant is that the Harvey Weinstein story is a New York thing, i.e. it’s the New York media that’s mainly focused on the story and that the average person watching Saturday Night Live wouldn’t really be familiar with it. Indeed, The New York Times quoted a source as saying that this is what Michaels was getting at.

“The person familiar with Saturday’s episode said that Mr. Michaels, in referring to ‘a New York thing’ and Mr. Weinstein, had meant that the events surrounding Mr. Weinstein seemed at the time like a New York media story with which a national television audience might not be familiar,” The New York Times reported.

In addition, there’s another reason why Weinstein wasn’t mocked on the show. According to The New York Times, there actually were some jokes about him in the original script, and they made it all the way to dress-rehearsal, but they were ultimately cut because the audience wasn’t responding well to them. That could have been because the audience wasn’t familiar with the Harvey Weinstein story, because the story is very depressing and the audience felt uncomfortable laughing about it, or because the jokes simply weren’t funny.

Either way, the Harvey Weinstein scandal has developed further since the most recent episode of Saturday Night Live, as on Sunday, he was officially fired from his own company, and on Monday, more celebrities began to speak out against him including Meryl Streep. Over the next week, it will probably become much more of a mainstream news story than it was a few days ago, and so it would be surprising if Saturday Night Live did not make mention of Weinstein on the upcoming Oct. 14 episode.