LOS ANGELES (AP) — NBC is enabling Donald Trump’s “hateful speech” about Hispanics by giving him a platform as host of “Saturday Night Live” and should pull the invitation, a coalition of Hispanic advocacy groups said.
In a letter to NBC Universal CEO Stephen Burke and “SNL” executive producer Lorne Michaels, the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda said it applauded the company when it severed its beauty-pageant ties with Trump over his remarks about Hispanic immigrants.
Trump hasn’t apologized for his “bigoted comments” that included describing some Mexicans in the United States illegally as criminals and rapists, the group said, and it is “flabbergasted” by NBC’s decision to put Trump on “SNL” on Nov. 7.
“We are appalled that you would enable Trump’s hateful speech for nothing (more) than a ratings ploy and ask that you rescind the SNL invitation,” the group said in a letter sent Thursday and released publicly.
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NBC Universal, “SNL” and Trump did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In an interview earlier this week with Fox News Channel in which he was asked about similar criticism, Trump said he had no reaction, then added that polls show he’s “doing very well with Hispanics.”
Trump’s appearance on “Saturday Night Live” will end up “sanitizing” his remarks with humor, said Felix Sanchez, who is chairman and co-founder of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts and among those who signed the letter.
NBC Universal is being contradictory, Sanchez said, courting Hispanic viewers with its Spanish-language platforms but giving them a “slap in the face” by putting Trump on the air.
The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, which includes 40 national and regional civil rights and public policy groups, is reviewing further action, Sanchez said, including such options as staging protests the night of the telecast or calling for boycotts of the show or network.
He also suggested that cast members consider their own boycott, noting that in 1990 cast member Nora Dunn and pop singer Sinead O’Connor refused to appear on the show with host Andrew Dice Clay, with Dunn calling his comedy degrading to women.
Michaels’ response at the time was to laud Dunn and her stand but insist that “the show will go on.”
In its letter, the Hispanic coalition said the issue ultimately is Michaels’ responsibility and called it part of a pattern involving him and “SNL.”
The group said it has been trying to meet with him since November 2013 to discuss the lack of Latino representation on the show and has yet to receive a response.
Among the complaints: The long-running program has never had a Latina cast member, and the use of non-Hispanic actors to play Latinas is equivalent to white performers using makeup to portray African-Americans, Sanchez said.
Lynn Elber can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lynnelber.