Dear SNL: Do Not Joke About a ‘Hitler Beauty Contest’
There are some things that are off limits. One of them is jokes about a Hitler Beauty Contest. Yet within the last ten days, Saturday Night Live responded with its own attempt at humor over news of a beauty contest by this very name. Where is the outcry over SNL’s foolishness?
I only learned about SNL’s “humor” via Twitter. But when I went to search for “Hitler Beauty Contest,” I was shocked with what I found.
Hitler Beauty Contests are a Real Thing
First, there has been talk of such “beauty pageants” for years, with a 2014 article on Vice.com explaining that an internet announcement had created undue attention. That’s because there was not “going to be an actual pageant, with bouquets of swastikas and contestants explaining to judges how much they admired Eva Braun. It was a social media goof, a post on VKontakte’s Adolf Hitler fan page requesting entries. The eligibility requirements consisted of six items amounting to, basically ‘Be a female Nazi with a sexy photo.’”
Forgive me if I don’t find this funny.
Then, in March, 2019, BBC reported that a female terror suspect entered a “Miss Hitler beauty contest.” (The actual contest took place in 2016.) Yes, “Alice Cutter, 22, of Halifax, allegedly entered the contest after taking on the nickname Buchenwald Princess in reference to the Nazi death camp.”
It is an understatement to call this sick.
But such is human nature. This is why it is no surprise that the Times of Israel reported on May 7 that, “The GoDaddy.com web hosting company said Thursday that it had taken down the domain of the site running the ‘Miss Hitler 2020’ pageant, following pressure from Australia’s Anti-Defamation Commission, a Jewish group aimed at fighting against anti-Semitism and racism.
“The competition, run by the so-called World Truth Historical Revisionism website, encourages women to enter by posting sexy Nazi-themed photos together with an entry explaining why they ‘love and revere the Third Reich of Adolf Hitler.’”
Still, despite the realities of sinful human nature, every word of this report seems surreal.
First, there are people who actually revel in things like this. This is not fiction. Second, the event made its way to a Go Daddy hosted site. How did that happen? And third, it was only after pressure from a group fighting antisemitism and racism that the domain was taken down. That is what it took.
Back to Saturday Night Live
But there’s more to story, as we come back to Saturday Night Live, which reported on this fiasco.
As recounted by the Jerusalem Post on May 10, with reference to the previous night’s broadcast, “Saturday Night Live’s Michael Che made light of the pageant website for ‘Miss Hitler’ being shut down, in which he stated that the winner for the contest was Miss Israel.”
Yes, that was how SNL responded to the news, with its own sick satire. “Haha! How funny! We can tell great jokes here at SNL. The winner of the Miss Hitler beauty contest was Miss Israel.”
To say it once more, forgive me if I don’t find this funny.
On second thought, I don’t need to apologize for not laughing. There’s no need for forgiveness.
Of course, no one will ever accuse SNL of being tasteful. Being SNL means being irreverent. And pushing the boundaries. And making people uncomfortable.
But there are lines not to be crossed, and this is one of them.
Could you imagine a Pol Pot beauty contest, with contestants posing next to pictures of the victims of his genocidal madness? Or, thinking of a mass murderer on a different level, a Ted Bundy beauty pageant, with voters deciding which of his victims was more attractive?
Even to write such words is repulsive. In fact, I feel sick to my stomach as I type them. Yet the Hitler Beauty Pageant is even more offensive since it is was not a matter of sick fiction. It was sick reality.
Saturday Night Live should issue a genuine apology for its poor attempt at humor.
That being said, I’m not holding my breath.
Dr. Michael Brown (www.askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. His latest book is When the World Stops: Words of Faith, Hope, and Wisdom in the Midst of Crisis. Connect with him on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.