Hayden Panettiere Defends ‘Scream’ Co-Star Melissa Barrera, Calls Her Firing ‘Very Unfair and Upsetting’

“Scream” franchise star Hayden Panettiere has spoken out about Melissa Barrera’s firing from the horror film series, calling her controversial exit “very unfair and upsetting.”

Barrera, who played Sam Carpenter in 2022’s “Scream” and 2023’s “Scream VI,” was fired from the upcoming “Scream 7” after her social media posts about Palestine were deemed antisemitic by Spyglass, the production banner behind the hit horror franchise.

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Spyglass said in a statement to Variety at the time: “We have zero tolerance for antisemitism or the incitement of hate in any form, including false references to genocide, ethnic cleansing, Holocaust distortion or anything that flagrantly crosses the line into hate speech.”

“After she [spoke out], then a whole bunch of other actors and people in the industry started to do the same thing, right?” Panettiere said in a recent interview with The Messenger. “It was almost like she just did it earlier than everyone else.”

Panettiere, who reprised her “Scream 4” role as Kirby Reed in the sixth installment, reached out to her co-star Barrera when she learned the news.

“You know, a lot of people hadn’t really asked her how she felt,” Panettiere said, adding that Barrera thanked her for checking in.

But Panettiere is “not worried” about Barrera, saying, “Melissa is such a badass as a human being and as an actress… She was hurt by it, but I think she took it in stride and was very, very gracious about it.”

Following Barrera’s firing, Ortega was also confirmed to be leaving the “Scream” franchise, though sources state that Ortega’s exit is due to a scheduling conflict with production on Season 2 of “Wednesday.” In December, director Christopher Landon announced his departure from “Scream 7,” writing on X/Twitter that “it was a dream job that turned into a nightmare.”

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