POLITICS

Latino groups demand NBC drop Trump as host of upcoming 'Saturday Night Live'

Sept. 30, 2015: Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump talks during a campaign stop in Keene, N.H. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Sept. 30, 2015: Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump talks during a campaign stop in Keene, N.H. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

A coalition of Latino civil rights and public policy organizations is demanding that NBC drop its controversial plan to have presidential candidate Donald Trump host its Nov. 7 “Saturday Night Live” show.

The coalition, National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA), said in a pointed letter to the heads of NBCUniversal and Saturday Night Live that while it was glad to see NBC sever its ties with Trump after the billionaire used his campaign announcement earlier this year to denounce Mexican immigrants, it was outraged that the show was putting the candidate on a pedestal.

“Donald Trump has yet to apologize for his bigoted comments about Mexican immigrants,” said the letter. “Allowing Trump to host SNL will legitimize and validate his anti-Latino comments."

"We are appalled that you would enable Trump’s hateful speech for nothing less than a ratings ploy and ask that you rescind the SNL invitation.”

The letter was signed by Hector Sanchez, the NHLA chair, Felix Sanchez, chair of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, and Axel Caballero, executive director of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers.

Many Latino groups long have criticized “Saturday Night Live” for the near-absence of Latinos on its show in its history. The authors of the letter said that Lorne Michaels, the creator of the show, has failed to respond to NHLA’s requests for a meeting. The organization, the authors said, has sought a meeting since 2013.  

“How can SNL justify casting zero Latinas over 41 seasons and only 2 Latinos over the same period, while promoting Trump’s divisive speech toward Latinos?” the letter asked.

“On one hand, Comcast is reaching out to Latino viewers on its English language platforms and on Telemundo, its Spanish-language network, while it uses the other hand to face slap us with this unconscionable invitation to Trump,” said the letter. “It is unconscionable that a major U.S. corporation—who needs Latino viewers—is acting so clueless.”

Efforts to get a comment from the show’s spokespeople on the letter and complaints about SNL were unsuccessful.

On social media, some Latinos have called for boycotting “Saturday Night Live,” and, in particular, not tuning in on Nov. 7. 

MoveOn has launched an online petition demanding Trump be dropped from the hosting gig.

The petition was the brainchild of Florida college student Juan Escalante, a Venezuelan immigrant who has temporary protected status under President Obama's 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA.

In a blog post, Escalante wrote: "For years, Saturday Night Live has misrepresented the Latino community by playing off stereotypes and refusing to hire full-time Latino cast members. Having Donald Trump serve as host of the program, further cements Saturday Night Live’s indifference towards its Latino viewers."

Escalante accused NBC of "mainstreaming the hate that powers his campaign."

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