The Congressional Hispanic Caucus urged NBCUniversal and “Saturday Night Live” producer Lorne Michaels to “disinvite” Donald Trump from hosting this weekend’s broadcast of the program due to the real-estate mogul and Presidential candidate’s recent remarks about Mexicans and Latinos.
The Caucus’ “Statement of Opposition” was approved by two-thirds of its 26 members., who serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. The group cited a range of factors, including NBCU parent Comcast’s assurances during hearings on its now-defunct efforts to merge with Time Warner Cable that it was committed to diversity and the idea that Trump’s remarks have made Latinos and Hispanics fearful, as reasons for its stance.
At issue are comments Trump made early in his campaign about his ideas that people of Latino origin were responsible for rapes and the importation of drugs to the United States. Other parties have made clear a desire to see “Saturday Night Live” drop Trump as a host, the latest example of how the controversy he has sparked over the course of his campaign can be a double-edged sword for TV networks that want to cover him. Trump brings ratings, to be sure, but he also brings disapproval from certain segments of viewership.
“When a TV personality calls Mexicans and Latinos criminals and rapists, a corporate network should not give him 90-minutes of free air time in an entertainment venue without his first apologizing to the American people,” said Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez, the Illinos Democrat. “Did I miss an apology? Did Trump do what Paula Deen or any other TV personality has to do after they make racist comments in public in order to get back on the air?”
Other groups have expressed concern about Trump’s on-air turn as host of the show, but NBC has not given any indication it is having second thoughts. His appearance is likely to generate robust viewership for the venerable late-night series, and the network has cut ties with Trump in other venues. Trump had been the central figure in the long-running reality series “The Apprentice,” and was also NBCU’s partner in the Miss Universe Organization, which supervises the Miss USA and Miss Universe beauty pageants.
The majority of “SNL” hosts do not spur backlash, and the show has had its share of politicians and Presidential candidates on the air. Hillary Clinton, a leading Democratic candidate, appeared on the program earlier this season and Sarah Palin and John McCain, Republican candidates for Vice President and President, respectively, had time on the show in 2008. The most controversy the show has ever generated about a host likely came in 1990, when Andrew “Dice” Clay, at the time a comedian famous for off-color rants, hosted the second-to-last episode of the program’s 15th season, Nora Dunn, a member of the cast known for roles as one of “The Sweeney Sisters” and as model “Pat Stevens,” decided to boycott the episode due to the comic’s jokes about women.