Dakota Johnson: Masterful Comedy Or Crass Insensitivity?

Dakota Johnson ISIS sketch controversy

It probably won’t have escaped your attention that Dakota Johnson hosted Saturday Night Live over the weekend. It is fair to say that the hit TV show is not renowned for its subtlety but this week Dakota Johnson starred in a sketch that saw her driving away in the back of a pick-up filled with gun toting militants. The skit caused a meltdown on social media with many people criticising both Johnson and Saturday Night Live for going a step too far.

The Telegraph reports that in the skit Dakota Johnson stars in a spoof of the Toyota Camry advertisement that appeared during the Super Bowl show. A father drops his daughter off at an airport as she goes off to join the Army. Dakota Johnson plays the daughter and as she climbs outs of the car she turns back to her father and with a wink says “Dad it’s just ISIS.” As Dakota climbs into the back of the machine-gun laden truck the tearful father says “take care of her” and a smiling militant replies with a grin “death to America.”

Saturday Night Live sketches are known for pushing the limits of comedy but, as the Independent reports, many people felt that Dakota’s sketch overstepped the bounds of acceptability. Johnson’s skit was broadcast in a week that saw three 15-year-old girls from Britain leave their homes and travel via Turkey to Syria to join ISIS. Four young girls from Canada have reportedly done the same thing. Just last week Isis are reported to have taken over 200 Syrian Christians hostage and there a fears that they will be beheaded in the same way that 21 Coptic Christians were a couple of weeks back. Isis are renowned for their brutality and are responsible for the brutal murders of foreign journalists.

It was against this backdrop that many criticised Dakota Johnson and Saturday Night Live, claiming that Isis is no laughing matter. Four Americans have been murdered whilst in Isis captivity.

Others however insist that Dakota Johnson was absolutely right to poke fun at Isis. The Islamist group understand that they cannot win an all out war with the west. Their key weapon is to cause fear and revulsion by barbaric acts such as beheadings and the use of suicide bombers. Recent reports have claimed that Isis is training children as young as seven to act as suicide bombers. Some argue that by turning Isis into a parody Dakota Johnson therefore helps to reduce the effectiveness of the weapon of fear. Fear is only a weapon if people are frightened and many feel that laughter is the best way to counter fear.

As the controversy over Dakota Johnson’s Isis sketch rumbles on, you decide. Was the sketch crass and insensitive or a masterful comedy moment?

[Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images]