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Amy Schumer wants to shift the focus from the controversy surrounding one of her Inside Amy Schumer writers to the topic at the center of the social media firestorm: rape.
“I would love to refocus the energy and the attention on the real problem, which is about rape,” the comedian told host Charlie Rose while promoting her new book, The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo, on his show Thursday. “And what’s consensual and what’s not.”
The Trainwreck star revealed in the memoir that she lost her virginity without her consent. While making the rounds to promote the book, she’s now getting hit with questions about Kurt Metzger, a staff writer on her Comedy Central show, over his recent social media rants mocking rape accusers.
On Wednesday, Schumer took to Twitter to say that she does not currently employ Metzger, “because we aren’t making the show anymore.” Her language raised questions about the future of her comedy series, which was renewed for a fifth season in January, forcing her to clarify that it is returning but not for “the foreseeable future.”
Speaking on Charlie Rose, Schumer again clarified what she meant: “Right now, there are no plans for the TV show to come back anytime in the near future, so nobody’s on my staff. There are no writers.”
Still, she can’t untangle herself from the situation.
“They want [Metzger’s] head, they want to burn him at the stake,” she said, referring collectively to social media. “I want them to not attach me to what he’s writing. He baits people, he’s the problem. No question.”
The firestorm around Metzger began when the comedian inserted himself into a conversation about an Upright Citizens Brigade performer named Andrew Glaser who was banned from the improv theater after multiple women alleged that he had raped them. Metzger came to Glaser’s defense in a series of Facebook rants and Twitter posts that mocked sexual assault and rape accusers, and the situation snowballed from there.
“One of the reasons he’s such a great writer and contributor to our television show is because his views are so different from that of mine and most of the other writers,” Schumer told Rose about Metzger, who has been a credited writer for all four seasons of her show. “We butt heads, we get in fights because he infuriates us.”
Still, she said they rely on Metzger for the “most out there” male perspective possible in a diverse writing room.
“Kurt’s my friend, I love him,” she continued. “I’m not on Facebook so I don’t read his crazy rants. He gets something from going after people, making them mad. That is not representative of me at all.”
On his podcast, Race Wars, Metzger offered somewhat of an apology, admitting that he got “inflamed” by the social media “mob,” but defended his reasoning during a nearly two-hour conversation about rape culture.
“I’ve asked him, ‘Can you just stop?'” Schumer told Rose. “Because it comes back to me. Because he writes for the show, it’s a bigger story. Because of our connection.”
Much of Metzger’s ire is aimed at the fact that the UCB conducted an internal investigation and made their decision without going to the police, sparking criticism over his victim-shaming. (The UCB told The Hollywood Reporter they “have always had an open-door policy and encourage anyone with a complaint or concern regarding sexual harassment to report it immediately to any of our Directors of Student Affairs, who are trained professionals. Any such complaints are always taken very seriously.”)
Schumer agreed with Rose that it’s uplifting how more and more people are coming forward in 2016 about attacks that happened years ago, and any criticism of that will only discourage others from continuing the trend.
“When a woman says they were assaulted, a lot of people’s first reaction is to say, ‘No, you weren’t. What was the situation?’ They treat it like the Salem Witch Trials,” said Schumer.
Adding that it’s upsetting to hear that Metzger takes issue over a victim speaking out in a way that he doesn’t “feel is right,” she said, “We all need to be empowering each other.” Schumer added, “To focus your energy on online trolling — if I did that, I wouldn’t get anything done.”
She continued: “I was sexually assaulted and I encourage women to come out. I want men to hear what happened so there is no confusion, because people have different understandings of what sexual assault is, what rape is. So let’s all get on the same page so that it happens less.”
Watch the clip of Schumer’s Thursday night interview on PBS’ Charlie Rose below.
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