Michael Che is facing the wrath of the internet after sharing offensive jokes on social media about Olympian Simone Biles. This week, Biles has been dominating the headlines after withdrawing from the finals of the individual all-around competition citing mental health concerns. She has garnered a lot of support from fans happy to see her placing her well being above the competition, though others have used the opportunity to poke fun at the gymnast.
Enter Che, who announced in his Instagram stories his plans to mock 2012 Summer Olympic Games star Biles, perhaps in light of all of the media attention she’s been getting. Oddly, he went so far as to indirectly encourage his followers to join in by sharing some of the jokes about Biles people had sent in. As the jokes even touched on Larry Nasser and the sexual abuse of female athletes, this was quick to bring backlash back to Che, and because of the controversy, the comedian has since scrubbed his Instagram account entirely.
“Man, I wanna make fun of Simone Biles,” Michael Che wrote on Instagram, and though the post was deleted, screenshots are floating around on Twitter. “I got like 3 mins of Simone Biles jokes in my head. I’m going to the cellar tonight to say them into a microphone. As the dorky kids say, I’m choosing violence.”
Responding to one person’s joke about how Larry Nasser also “had to quit doing what he loved at the pinnacle of his career because of mounting pressure,” Che said, “G–damn, that’s rough. Absolutely tasteless. 9/10.”
“Okay so I am shivering while typing this.. but you are encouraging me. ‘Who said black don’t crack?'” says another Che fan in a post shared by the Weekend Update co-anchor. Che’s comment on the share said, “Now that’s a good joke. Economical. Referential. Balanced. Good job. 8/10.”
Initially, Che tried to slow down the backlash by seemingly joking that he’d been hacked in an additional Instagram story. In that post, Che wrote: “Maaannnn, I got hacked today. Can’t believe they got me. Yall kno I only do jokes about whites and cops. S’all good now, I changed my password and everything. Anyway, yall hear about DaBaby tho..? That’s crazy. Iight. See yall at church. Imma get there early.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the joke didn’t satisfy those crying foul, so Che followed this up by scrubbing his Instagram account entirely. His page remains active with 628k followers, but all of his posts are gone, as are the offensive Instagram Stories shares. The SNL personality has not yet offered an additional statement to address the continued controversy. NBC and the Saturday Night Live team have similarly yet to provide an official comment.
Che is best known as one of the weekly co-anchors of Saturday Night Live‘s Weekend Update segments alongside Colin Jost. He is also the creator and star of the sketch comedy series That Damn Michael Che which premiered on HBO Max in May; it was just recently renewed for a second season. It’s unclear at this time if Che’s recent controversy will affect these programs. The original posts come from Michael Che on Instagram.