Comedian Michael Che wiped his Instagram account after facing backlash for posting controversial jokes about U.S. Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, who withdrew from the Tokyo Olympics gymnastics team and individual events due to mental health concerns. The Saturday Night Live writer said that he wanted to make jokes about the athlete in his now-deleted Instagram story. He later cleared his account, leaving a message claiming he was hacked, but the account is now active again.
“I got like 3 mins of simone biles jokes in my head. im going to the cellar tonight to say them into a microphone. as the dorky kids say, im choosing violence,” read Che’s story on 29 July. Instead of posting his own material, the comedian apparently invited his followers to send in their jokes about Biles and published them on his Instagram stories, giving them a rating out of 10.
One of the submissions referenced Biles’ history with former U.S. women’s national gymnastics team doctor and convicted sex offender, Larry Nassar. “Larry Nassar understands Simone Biles better than anyone. He too had to quit doing what he loved at the pinnacle of his career because of mounting pressure,” wrote the follower. Che gave the comment a 9 out of 10 and responded with, “Goddamn, thats rough. Absolutely tasteless.”
Another Instagram user said, “Who said black don’t crack?” to which Che replied with, “now thats a good joke. economical. referential. balanced. good job. 8/10.”
Che is known for his edgy humour and has sparked controversy with his Instagram posts in the past as well. Fans, fellow comics and Hollywood celebrities did not take well to his comments about the American gymnast.
The Weekend Update host deleted the stories after facing criticism for the offensive jokes and claimed that his account was hacked. However, he soon returned to post on his Instagram story about news articles covering the jokes about Biles. Some of his comments read, “im fucking ruined,” “im a goddamn martyr” and “theres still a yahoo?! how long was i asleep?!”