Yesterday when that SNL sketch mysteriously disappeared from Hulu and NBC.com, evidently since referring to Herbert and Marion Sandler as “people who should be shot” didn’t meet NBC’s standards, we wondered why no one caught the reportedly offensive content before it aired.
Well, it might have had something to do with the fact that the Sandlers’ description wasn’t spoken. But also SNL exec producer Lorne Michaels says he had no idea the Sandlers were real people until Monday morning.
LAT: “I, in a state of complete ignorance, thought they were characters in the piece,” he said. “I did not know they were real, up until somebody called me about it on Monday. And I went, what? Now, that’s entirely my fault. Entirely.
“When I spoke to them, I can assure you this: They are very, very real. I think they were angry, I think distraught, I think they were not expecting to turn on the television and see that. First of all, I pleaded incompetence, which is not a thing I do often, and the fact that I did not know they were real is 100% my responsibility.”
The bit was penned by veteran “SNL” writer Jim Downey, who writes a large share of the show’s political sketches. Downey had heard of the Sandlers and “felt that from what he read and what he was basing it on, he thought it was a fair hit,” Michaels said.
But after speaking to the couple, Michaels said he and other executives decided to take the sketch offline to edit out the most offensive lines. The chryon under the couple that referred to them as “people who should be shot” was removed, as was a reference their “corrupt activities.”
He noted that the Sandlers did not request the changes but that he felt it was an appropriate step to take.
This is surprising that he didn’t know who they were and that he didn’t think to look into it. But at least he took responsibility for his oversight. Still, Lorne, may we suggest you pick up The Wall Street Journal more regularly—or, better yet, read The Business Sheet!
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