×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

NPR’s ‘Fresh Air’ Fires Film Critic David Edelstein Over ‘Last Tango in Paris’ Rape Joke

NPR’s “Fresh Air” program has ended its association with David Edelstein following the film critic’s controversial joke about the “Last Tango in Paris” rape scene in the wake of director Bernardo Bertolucci’s death.

In a Facebook post, Edelstein posted an image of the rape scene with the caption, “Even grief is better with butter,” referencing Marlon Brando’s character use of butter as a lubricant. Many, including actress Martha Plimpton, demanded that Edelstein be fired.

“All day I’ve avoided noting [Bertolucci’s] death precisely because of this moment in which a sexual assault of an actress was intentionally captured on film. And this a–hole makes it into this joke,” Plimpton wrote.

“Fresh Air,” which is produced by WHYY in Philadelphia, issued a statement on Tuesday, saying the post was “offensive and unacceptable,” particularly given actress Maria Schneider’s claim that she wasn’t told about the simulated sex scene beforehand and it caused her to “cry real tears.” Schneider died in 2011 at age 58.

“The post does not meet the standards that we expect from Fresh Air contributors,” the statement continues. “We have decided to end Fresh Air’s association with him, and have informed David accordingly.”

Edelstein has deleted the post and said he “was not aware of” Schneider’s experience on “Last Tango in Paris.” “I now realize the joke was in poor taste and have removed it, and apologize for the remark,” he wrote.

Earlier this month, Edelstein garnered ire for his review of the movie “Green Book,” starring Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen. “The movie taps into a kind of nostalgia for when everything — even racism — seemed simpler,” Edelstein wrote. He later apologized and updated the review, saying he didn’t mean to imply that he was nostalgic for an era when racism was more “pervasive and deadly than it is today.”

Edelstein has also contributed to “CBS Sunday Morning” and New York Magazine.

More Film

  • Black Panther

    'Black Panther,' 'Crazy Rich Asians,' 'Westworld' Among Costume Designers Guild Winners

    “Crazy Rich Asians,” “The Favourite” and “Black Panther” walked away with top honors at the 21st annual Costume Designers Guild Awards Tuesday night, the final industry guild show before the Oscars on Feb. 24. “The Favourite” and “Black Panther” are up for the Oscar this year, along with “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” “Mary Poppins [...]

  • WGA Writers Contract Talks

    Talent Agents, WGA Achieve Progress in Second Round of Talks

    Hollywood talent agents and the Writers Guild of America have achieved some progress at their second negotiating session over agency regulations, according to sources close to the talks. The two sides met Tuesday, two weeks after their first meeting resulted in both sides criticizing each other, followed by the WGA holding a trio of spirited [...]

  • Aaron Paul

    Film News Roundup: Aaron Paul Honored by Sun Valley Film Festival

    In today’s film news roundup, Aaron Paul is honored, Bruce Berman is re-upped at Village Roadshow, and Paola Mendoza and Abby Sher get a book deal. FESTIVAL HONORS The Sun Valley Film Festival has selected Idaho native and three-time Emmy winner Aaron Paul as the winner of its Pioneer Award, presented by Variety for his [...]

  • Olivia Munn]EMILY'S List Pre-Oscars Brunch, Inside,

    Olivia Munn Says Brett Ratner Called Her Before His 'Howard Stern' Apology

    Olivia Munn is setting the record straight about standing up to “Rush Hour” director Brett Ratner, whom she alleges sexually harassed her over a decade ago. During a panel discussion at the Emily’s List pre-Oscars brunch at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills Tuesday morning, Munn revealed that Ratner called her in 2011 after he denied [...]

  • Flesh Out review

    Berlin Film Review: 'Flesh Out'

    Ignore the awful English-language title: “Flesh Out” is an emotionally rich, sensitively made film about a young woman in Mauritania forced to gain weight in order to conform to traditional concepts of well-rounded beauty before her impending marriage. Strikingly registering the sensations of a protagonist living between the dutiful traditions of her class and the [...]

  • Marighella review

    Berlin Film Review: 'Marighella'

    Does Brazil need a film that openly advocates armed confrontation against its far-right government? That’s the first question that needs to be asked when discussing “Marighella,” actor Wagner Moura’s directorial debut focused on the final year in the life of left-wing insurrectionist Carlos Marighella during Brazil’s ruthless military dictatorship. For whatever one might think of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content