Justin Timberlake’s opening skit on ‘Saturday Night Live’ featured the singer and actor doing a “tribute” of Venezuelan authoritarian Hugo Chavez, who died Tuesday (March 5), dressed as Elton John, mimicking Elton’s ‘Candle in the Wind’ song written for Marilyn Monroe and performed at Princess Diana’s funeral. Timberlake’s take would likely be considered softball by the standards of American conservatives or moderates, but to many in Venezuela, they turned to Twitter to blast the artist for disrespecting their fallen leader and the country’s flag, seen in the background of the skit. The angry messages sent via Twitter (@jtimberlake) include:
@luisragarcia: Be a men @jtimberlake, no time for pranks, Venezuela deserve respect! When one of your loved ones die, people will respect your grief. #Rude
@Impertinencias: @jtimberlake when you die you, well assured that I’m going to make fun of you clown
@GerdysDANZ: @jtimberlake trash, why do not you make fun of the millions of children who die by gunmen sick of your country?
@IngTato: @jtimberlake did you take a chance to know who Chávez is for Venezuelan people? Shame on you @jtimberlake and #SNL ! We deserve RESPECT!
@AngelaRosaDli: @jtimberlake I don’t speak English, I’m Venezuelan. You offend me today. We love Hugo Chavez and you laugh at him. Is disrespectful. You don’t know anything about Venezuelan people. Don’t laugh at Hugo Chávez. Now we hate you. Talk about Chávez with Sean Penn. You can’t make jokes about something you don’t know. I want respect for us (Venezuelan people) and Hugo Chávez
@AllanComandante: @jtimberlake You sucks man, I am not Chavez’s fan, but you don’t respect Venezuelan people with that thing. I repeat YOU SUCKS!
@RandoldMillan: So sad I got to see @jtimberlake making fun of my country. It’s not about Chávez, but the millions of people represented by the flag.
@jomigovi: You weak,fool,we love Hugo Chávez, we’re not killers like you @jtimberlake
@YrnehTua: @jtimberlake You have gone way too far making a joke out of Hugo Chávez death, respect the Venezuelan people… #A**hole!!!
@nataliaval7: My homeland Venezuela and Chavez is respected! IDIOT. That sucks! Respect! @jtimberlake
@CarlosPalacci: @jtimberlake my country IS NOT A TOY of you. I didn’t like Chávez neither. But I ask you for Respect for our death persons #SNL
@Tiby17: Did you thought “oh just the ignorant Chávez lovers will bother about this”? NO cause you are using the flag of a entire country!! @jtimberlake
But there was also some Venezuelan support for the skit and the singer. Among the positive Tweets sent Timberlake’s way:
@JOrdazAlf: @jtimberlake #SNL tribute song to Chavez’s death couldn´t be more true… awesome! A huge THANK YOU from Venezuela.
@aphek: @jtimberlake #SNL You made me laugh a lot, like the real funeral a total parody, as it was Chávez the monkey, now he leaves us a donkey!
@crisvillar: @jtimberlake gracias Justin :) for telling the truth about Chavez tonight #snl
@Rosaelena25: @jtimberlake your Hugo Chavez skit was awesome!! I am from Venezuela and love it.
@La_U: @jtimberlake I’m from Venezuela and I’ve always loved you!! Now with this Chavez parody I love you EVEN MORE!!
@mernoely: @jtimberlake you just earned my follow, love and respect for doing the Chavez SNL sketch tonight! ALL THE BEST FROM VENEZUELA!