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Why Sharon Stone's 1992 "SNL" Monologue Was Pulled and Never Aired Again

The version that's in reruns and on streaming is from the dress rehearsal.

The 1992 erotic thriller Basic Instinct made Sharon Stone a household name—one usually attached to jokes about the film's infamous leg-crossing interrogation scene. So when the newly minted star hosted Saturday Night Live on April 11, 1992, her monologue went straight to parodying it, with the actor taking the stage in a replica of the sleeveless white turtleneck dress her character Catherine Tramell wears in the movie before asking for a chair and slickly sharing that she had obtained "pleasure" from working with both the men and the women of SNL.

However, if you've ever caught the episode in reruns or watched it on streaming, what you've seen is not the version of the monologue that was filmed live in Studio 8H that night. During the live show, the joke had barely landed when Stone was interrupted by loud shouts from the audience protesting her very presence. Read on to learn the shocking reason why the star's appearance brought protestors to the stage and why this infamous moment of live television was never aired again.

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Gay rights activists had called for a Basic Instinct boycott.

Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct
TriStar Pictures

Centering on the murder of an former rock star by an ice-pick-wielding blonde lover suspected to be bisexual crime novelist Catherine Tramell (Stone), Basic Instinct features gory violence, date rape, and a heap of sexually explicit content that initially landed it an NC-17 rating. Unsurprisingly, though it was a box office hit, not everyone was thrilled by the film.

But for LGBTQ+ activists, the uproar began while the script for the film was circulating through Hollywood. Exhausted by a wave of cinematic depictions that had "exploited a supposed connection between queerness and violence" including the "lesbians who kill" trope, per a look back at the film by NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, gay rights activists attempted to interrupt its San Francisco filming by encouraging passersby to honk if they loved the 49ers, among other causes, per to The Los Angeles Times.

Despite arrests during filming, a contemporary report by the Associated Press says that upon the film's release, groups organized in cities across the United States to give away the ending, hand audiences flyers, and shout chants including, "Rape is not sexy," and "Hey, hey, ho, ho, Hollywood homophobia has got to go."

Stone was "live from New York" when the heckling began.

Sharon Stone on SNL
Saturday Night Live/YouTube

Three weeks after the film opened, Stone began her stint hosting SNL only to find the demonstrations had followed her to live television. Shortly she took the stage, angry voices could be heard in the audience, according to a recap by the blog The "One SNL a Day" Project. The protestors were yelling, "Fight AIDS, not women," and attempted to rush the stage, according to a 1992 New York Times article about the taping. Producer Lorne Michaels was heard calling for security before the voices faded away as the demonstrators were presumably removed from the scene.

After being detained by NBC security, the six protestors—two women and four men—were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and harassment, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "We are protesting Hollywood's homophobia and misogyny as exemplified in the film," a spokesperson for the group told the Times.

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The footage was replaced in reruns.

Sharon Stone on SNL
Saturday Night Live/YouTube

Stone carried on with her monologue, taking only brief pauses to be heard over the shouts, as did Michaels, cast members Chris Farley and Victoria Jackson, and musical guest Pearl Jam, all of whom are shown hanging on to every word of her speech. These days, it's impossible to see this version of the opener, however, unless you captured it on an ancient VHS cassette. Although reruns of the episode have aired and been clipped to the official SNL account on YouTube, the opening monologue has been replaced with the version from the dress rehearsal.

Stone made a recent SNL cameo during a "queer love anthem."

Sharon Stone and Sam Smith on SNL
Sam Smith/YouTube

As for Stone, the breakout role rocketed her to A-list status and led to her Oscar-nominated role in 1995's Casino. Meanwhile, the film that made her famous has been reappraised by some as a subversive female-driven take on the erotic thriller that upends the "sexual politics of a subgenre more often associated with male privilege," according to including film critic Anton Bitel. Stone has shown allyship with the LGBTQ+ community, continuing work she had started before Basic Instinct raising money for AIDS research and starring opposite Ellen DeGeneres in the time-crossing anthology of lesbian stories, If These Walls Could Talk 2 in 2000.

Despite her rise, Stone never again hosted SNL—although she did make a surprise cameo on the late-night comedy show more than 30 years later. During a January 2023 musical performance by her friend Sam Smith, who came out as gay in 2014 and nonbinary in 2019, Stone appeared centerstage on an altar-like bed draped in a sparkling gold cloth. Clad in a sequined gown, the actress lay in front of a full choir, her face awash in beatific expression, before being moved to sit in awe as the singer performed the "queer love hymn" title track from their album, Gloria. "@SharonStone, you were the moment," Smith thanked Stone afterwards.

Andrew Miller
Andrew Miller is a pop culture writer living in New York. Read more
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