NPR fires film critic who made joke about 'Last Tango in Paris' sex scene

NPR fires film critic who made joke about 'Last Tango in Paris' sex scene
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NPR's "Fresh Air" fired film critic David Edelstein after he made a joke about a controversial sex scene in "Last Tango in Paris" on his Facebook page Monday following the death of director Bernardo Bertolucci.

"Fresh Air" said a statement to The Hill on Tuesday that the post was "offensive and unacceptable" because of the experience of the actress involved.


“We appreciate the apology David posted, but we have decided to end Fresh Air’s association with him, and have informed David accordingly,” the statement read.

The actress, Maria Schneider, said in a 2007 interview that the simulated sex scene was unscripted and that she felt bullied.

"I was crying real tears," Schneider said, according to The Associated Press.

After news broke of Bertolucci's death, Edelstein on Monday posted a photo of the scene with the caption, "Even grief is better with butter."

After he was roundly criticized and people began to call for his firing, Edelstein apologized and said he had been unaware of the scene's wider context.

"I didn’t remember [the scene] as a rape and I didn’t know the real-life story about Maria Schneider,” Edelstein wrote on Facebook, according to the AP.

“The line was callous and wrong even if it had been consensual, but given that it wasn’t I’m sick at the thought of how it read and what people logically conclude about me," he wrote. "I have never and would never make light of rape, in fiction or in reality.”

Edelstein had been a longtime "Fresh Air" contributor and remains a staff critic at New York magazine.

"We take David at his word that he was not aware of Maria Schneider's comments about the making of Last Tango in Parisbut we’re reviewing the matter internally," a magazine spokesperson told The Hill in a statement.