Newly announced Saturday Night Live cast member Melissa Villaseñor — the first Latina cast member in the show’s four-decade history — has come under fire for apparently deleting thousands of tweets from her social media account that critics have deemed racist.
The tweets from the 28-year-old Mexican-American comedian — who joined the cast of NBC’s long-running sketch show earlier this month — were first noticed by Grist writer Aura Bogado, who pointed them out on Twitter.
According to the New York Daily News, Villaseñor made her Twitter account private in the days leading up to the announcement of her casting, and by the time she had made it public again, she had allegedly deleted more than 2,000 separate tweets.
Twitter users were able to preserve some of the messages in question by capturing them with screenshots.
— April (@ReignOfApril) September 22, 2016
I also saved this gem and a few others. Please advise Snl. pic.twitter.com/AbsFyoqfUs
— Shanelle Little (@ShanelleLittle) September 22, 2016
“I hate those mexicans on bikes, they threw something at my car. The world doesn’t need them,” read a tweet from November 2010.
“Coworker at forever 21 dates black guys and she said she will set me up on a blind date for valentines, I said yes but I’m scared,” a 2011 message read.
Neither Saturday Night Live nor Villaseñor have commented on the tweets. The comedian’s most recent post came on September 13, when she expressed gratitude for the well-wishes she received on joining the show.
Tweeter April Reign — who started the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag before the 2014 Academy Awards — told the Huffington Post that she sees “racist and/or anti-Black statements” in Villaseñor’s tweets.
“Because neither Melissa nor SNL have decided to comment, we are left to wonder if she understands why her tweets are harmful or if she feels any remorse,” Reign told the outlet. “It is unfortunate that what began as a celebratory occasion is now overshadowed.”
The new SNL cast member isn’t the only comedian to have had old tweets come back to haunt them. Last year, current Daily Show host Trevor Noah’s Twitter feed was discovered to be full of jokes aimed at gay people, Asians and Jews.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum