The long-running show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit on Thursday marked its 457th episode, which means it’s now been on longer than any other show in the hit franchise.
However, much of the talk on social media following the episode titled “Assumptions” was less than celebratory, as people criticized the show’s take on some controversial recent events.
Viewers easily spotted references to U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota), Kentucky high school student Nick Sandmann and former Empire actor Jussie Smollett in the penultimate episode of the season. A controversial comment that Congresswoman Omar said in a February tweet that she’s since deleted was quoted by the episode’s main character, a Muslim city council representative. A high school student accused of sexually assaulting that character was initially said to have worn a “Make America Great Again” hat, which is what happened in the ongoing case of Smollett, who’s been accused of faking a hate crime against himself. It also featured a video clip depicting a student in a confrontation with the councilwoman that was found to have been taken out of context, which proved to be the case in a January video first circulated by the Washington Post. (The family of the student depicted in that video is now suing the newspaper for $250 million, CNN for $275 million and Law & Order: SVU’s network NBC for another $275 million, all for defamation.)
In the episode, when the councilwoman is assaulted, the students are accused. It’s revealed in the end that the students are innocent and that the character, Nahla Nasar, had not been completely honest.
Yahoo Entertainment has reached out to NBC for comment.
While the show often takes inspiration from current events, this time it just didn’t work, according to social media reviews. Viewers accused the show of trying to do too much at best and, at worst, inciting hatred.
@nbcsvu Today’s #SVU episode totally racist and shameful. Saying Islamophobia is a hoax. That Muslim men, are barbarians. That Muslim women aren’t strong enough to be themselves, and need permission from white people to speak their truth. Oh and let’s just smear Islam too.— Omar Haroon (@omarharoon) May 10, 2019
This episode of SVU aint it. Being pro-Palestine is not equal to be anti-Semitic. I’m not also loving these fake similarities between this woman and Rep. Ilhan Omar. Im hoping this fixes itself— Kellee Terrell (@kelleent) May 10, 2019
Oh god is #SVU ALREADY at Jussie Smollett? AND a dash of Ilhan Omar? Yikes.— Maura (@Mauracarney1) May 10, 2019
@LawandOrderSVU1 @SVU_Fanpage1 Tonight’s episode was extremely offensive to me. Both Jews and Muslims were portrayed with stereotypes in obnoxious behavior and having the Omar character say All about the Benjamins was dangerous for Ilhan. What were you thinking?— Cindy Davis (@cdopera) May 10, 2019
Tonight’s episode was disgusting- transparently tried to portray Rep Omar as a person who manufactured a rape crisis. You even used one of her quotes, “all about the Benjamins”. Shame on you - you’ve lost me as a viewer. You exacerbate the problem you don’t try to help solve it https://t.co/8e4Z3tuAtF— LePimpernel (@LPimpernel) May 10, 2019
I’m really not sure where tonight’s Law & Order SVU episode is going but right now it feels very anti-Palestine/islamaphobic and they seem to be making Ilhan Omar jabs... this is not good, Dick Wolf.— Amanda (@AMANDAKONDA) May 10, 2019
Me too! Are they insinuating that a Muslim woman would fake a rape AND a hate crime just to be seen as oppressed?? Like help me get it?— Amanda (@AMANDAKONDA) May 10, 2019
After #TrueOrFalseSVU we’re apparently not. This *entire* episode emboldens all who discriminate against or vilify women, victims, lgbtq+, Muslims, Jews, media, and Democrats— especially Ilhan Omar. It was beyond inaccurate and inappropriate. It is hate. Not my #SVU https://t.co/U08ggweLkS— Brianna (@add_bri) May 10, 2019
In March, Variety reported that a new show in the franchise, Law & Order: Hate Crimes, scheduled to debut this season, had been postponed.
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