Donald Trump’s impending stint as host of “Saturday Night Live” is continuing to ignite backlash.
On Tuesday, the California Latino Legislative Caucus issued a statement to the heads of Comcast and NBCUniversal asking them to retract the plan to have the vocal Republican presidential candidate host the Nov. 7 episode of the long-running NBC sketch series due to his incendiary remarks about immigrant groups .
“’Saturday Night Live’ may be a comedy show, but inviting a host [who] believes the largest ethnic group in the country consists of rapist and criminals with ‘lots of problems’ is not only wrong, but it makes NBCUniversal complicit in demeaning an entire community,” read the letter, written on behalf of the group’s chairman, assembly member Luis A. Alejo. “This is not a laughing matter, and on behalf of the California Latino Legislative Caucus, we sincerely hope you will reconsider your decision and stand with the diversity that has made our nation great and disinvite Mr. Trump from hosting ‘SNL’.”
The letter went on to praise NBCUniversal for showing “true leadership” last summer when it announced it was ending its relationship with the former “Apprentice” host over what it called “derogatory statements” when Trump announced his campaign for president. The group asked that it stand strong again, even though a Trump appearance all but guarantees high ratings for networks for which he appears.
The news comes a few days after U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Illinois) gave an impassioned speech on the House floor chiding NBC, “SNL” and creator Lorne Michaels for inviting Trump to host.
“While much of what Donald Trump says is hilarious, intentionally or otherwise, bold-face racism for political gain isn’t funny. His statements should disqualify him from being able to take the stage at any entertainment venue and speak to the American people as if what he said was no big deal,” Gutierrez said while standing next to a sign reading #Racismisntfunny.
He has also expressed his concerns in writing to Comcast chairman, president and CEO Brian Roberts and NBCUniversal president and CEO Stephen B. Burke.
Trump’s “SNL” appearance has also received backlash from advocacy groups like the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, which has also contacted Michaels and Burke.
Meanwhile, Trump’s Republican presidential rival Marco Rubio came to the candidate’s defense last week.
“It’s a free country. I don’t agree with everything that Donald Trump says, I don’t agree with everything the other side says, either. But if you don’t like it, don’t watch the show,” Rubio told Fox News.
The debate as to whether Trump should host “SNL” may end up being moot. It runs the risk of sounding the FCC equal time alarms, allowing for other candidates to demand the same amount of screen time, thus giving NBC an easy out if it wants to cancel the gig. Hillary Clinton made a cameo on the show earlier this month, resulting in fellow Democratic candidate Larry Lessig demanding equal airtime.