NPR’s ‘Fresh Air’ Parts Ways With Film Critic David Edelstein After ‘Last Tango In Paris’ Rape Comment

David Edelstein
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David Edelstein, a New York Magazine film critic and contributor to NPR’s Fresh Air, will no longer be a part of the radio show after he was criticized for insensitive comments made in the wake of Bernardo Bertolucci’s death earlier this week.

Edelstein said in a Facebook post Monday about the Italian director’s 1972 Last Tango In Paris that “Even grief is better with butter,” referring to a rape scene in the film featuring Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider. In 2007, Schneider told the Daily Mail that the scene was not in the original script, and she cried during the filming of the simulated act.

The Facebook post was deleted and Edelstein apologized via a statement from the magazine, saying he wasn’t aware of the scene’s backstory. But not before his comment was met with criticism and calls for his firing.

“Today we learned about film critic David Edelstein’s Facebook post in response to the death of film director Bernardo Bertolucci,” Fresh Air said in a statement Tuesday. “The post is offensive and unacceptable, especially given actress Maria Schneider’s experience during the filming of ‘Last Tango in Paris.’ The post does not meet the standards that we expect from ‘Fresh Air’ contributors, or from journalists associated with WHYY or NPR. We appreciate the apology David posted, but we have decided to end ‘Fresh Air’s association with him, and have informed David accordingly.”

Earlier in the day, Edelstein, who also contributes to CBS Sunday Morning, apologized in a statement to USA Today.

“To my embarrassment, I was not aware of Maria Schneider’s comments about the making of ‘Last Tango in Paris,’ ” it read. “I now realize the joke was in poor taste and have removed it, and apologize for the remark.”

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