Saturday Night Live writer Katie Rich has been suspended indefinitely after she tweeted a widely criticized joke about Barron Trump, a person familiar with the situation tells The Hollywood Reporter.
NBC had no comment.
On Friday, Rich tweeted that “Barron will be this country’s first home-school shooter,” which led to public outcry and some calling for the dismissal of the SNL writer. Rich later deleted the tweet, and deactivated her account. On Monday, she reactivated her account and issued an apology.
I sincerely apologize for the insensitive tweet. I deeply regret my actions & offensive words. It was inexcusable & I’m so sorry.
— Katie Rich (@katiemaryrich) January 23, 2017
A Second City alum, Rich has been with the show since 2013, writing primarily for “Weekend Update.”
The controversial tweet comes as SNL has been under additional scrutiny from none other than President Donald Trump himself, who has become known to tweet his own reviews of the late-night show hours after it airs.
SNL announced earlier Monday that Alec Baldwin, who has been playing the now-president all season long, will host the Feb. 11. episode.
Barron Trump, 10, is the only son of Trump with his wife Melania. The president has four other adult children: sons Donald Jr. and Eric Trump, as well as daughters Ivanka and Tiffany Trump.
The White House Press Office released a statement on Tuesday following reports of Rich’s tweet and subsequent suspension.
“It is a longstanding tradition that the children of Presidents are afforded the opportunity to grow up outside of the political spotlight. The White House fully expects this tradition to continue. We appreciate your cooperation in this matter.”
Rich’s tweet isn’t the first time SNL has come under fire for poking fun at the president’s offspring. In 1992, Mike Myers and Dana Carvey’s Wayne’s World characters mocked then-12-year-old first daughter Chelsea Clinton, saying “adolescence has been thus far unkind” to her, but “she could turn into a babe in waiting.” Then-first lady Hillary Clinton was critical of the sketch, which was subsequently cut out of all repeats of the episode. “We felt, upon reflection, that if it was in any way hurtful, it wasn’t worth it,” executive producer Lorne Michaels said at the time. “She’s a kid, a kid who didn’t choose to be in public life.”
Chelsea Clinton came to the defense of Barron Trump in a tweet posted Sunday.
Barron Trump deserves the chance every child does-to be a kid. Standing up for every kid also means opposing @POTUS policies that hurt kids.
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) January 22, 2017
Jan. 24, 1:15 p.m.: Updated with statement from the White House Press Office.