New York – More than a dozen Latino activist groups will protest outside NBC headquarters on Wednesday night, outraged over "Saturday Night Live"’s decision to allow Donald Trump to host the popular comedy sketch show this weekend – and activists say this is only the beginning of a long offensive campaign against SNL and NBC.
The rally is the latest effort by national Latino organizations to mount pressure on NBCUniversal and SNL for allowing Trump to host the iconic show despite his “long history of hate speech targeting Latinos and undocumented immigrants,” organizers say. The rally also comes amid frustration from lead Latino organizations who feel disrespected by SNL, whose executive producer, Lorne Michaels, allegedly refuses to meet with them to discuss their grievances.
“If the black community or the gay community was outraged this wouldn’t be happening, 'Saturday Night Live' would never think about having him on the show,” said Angelo Falcon, founder of the National Institute for Latino Policy (NiLP). “There’s something about how people take the Latino community for granted that allows us to be used as a punching bag.”
Michaels and NBC have not met with any of the Latino organizations on the Trump issue, or on the issue of lack of Latino representation on the show’s cast, which was brought up back in December of 2013.
“When push comes to shove, they would rather go with ratings over respect for the Latino community,” Felix Sanchez, founder and chairman of the National Hispanic Federation of the Arts, told Fox News Latino. “[Michaels] has refused to meet with us. He has never responded to the letters.”
As a result, protesters on Wednesday will deliver letters and petitions to NBC with over 460,000 signatures that they claim to have collected, demanding that Trump be pulled as the host for NBC’s iconic comedy show.
“Allowing Donald Trump to host ‘SNL’ sanitizes and validates his comments against Latinos,” Sanchez said in an SNL attack video released by NHFA.
NBC and "Saturday Night Live" did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment.
NBCUniversal decided to cut lucrative business ties with Trump’s Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants back in June after his controversial comments referring to undocumented Mexican immigrants as ‘criminals’ and ‘rapists.’ But Sanchez told Fox News Latino that the latest move by SNL to allow Trump to host the show is an example of NBC speaking “out of both sides of their mouth.”
The top 40 Latino organizations, Sanchez said, will now look to go after companies who advertise on the November 7th SNL episode, featuring Trump as host.
“On the one hand, they end relationships with him, and on the other they use him as a ratings bonanza for a show whose ratings have been lagging,” Sanchez said. “We absolutely have a close eye on who advertises this particular show, especially.”
Sanchez says Wednesday’s rally will be the beginning of renewed pressure on them to recognize that they cannot disrespect the Latino community without consequence.
“At some point there has to be a ‘come to Jesus’ moment for NBC and Lorne Michaels,” Sanchez said, “we are going to continue to beat the drum until that moment occurs.”
The rally Wednesday comes days after the Congressional Hispanic Caucus formerly asked SNL and NBC to ‘disinvite’ Trump on Monday, and after 67 prominent Hispanic leaders and artists condemned Trump and his presidential campaign in an open letter written by novelist and journalist Abad Faciolince. Among those who signed the letter were Oscar-winning director Alejandro González Iñárritu, Mexican actor Diego Luna and even University of Miami president Julio Frenk.
The letters come on the heels of Trump retweeting, and then subsequently deleting, a tweet on Tuesday night attacking his GOP rival Jeb Bush in a collage of pictures depicting Bush with a swastika and wearing a Sombrero. The tweet included the comment from Trump “Adios JEB, aka Jose.” His campaign on Tuesday apologized, saying Trump “did not see the accompanying image.”
“He’s pressing the Latino wedge issue because it’s been a winning issue for him,” Sanchez said. “It’s a loser for the Latino community because we don’t not want to see us scapegoated in another presidential election.”
Alex Nogales, the president of the National Media Coalition, said he and his colleagues, like Falcon and Sanchez, are beyond frustrated with the lack of response and respect they get for issues that affect the Hispanic community. Pointing to the fact that when the African American community had an issue with the lack of representation of black females on the show, SNL responded by diversifying their cast. But Latino organizations, he said, can’t even get a meeting on similar issues.
“Certain constituencies they feel as though they have to respond to, and we are not seen as a key constituency,” Sanchez said, “and that is wrong.”
While the chance of NBC pulling the plug on Trump’s hosting gig seems remote, Latino organizations say they will not let this issue go.
“We are going to keep fighting,” Nogales said. “We let it go one more time and it’ll happen again. They got away with it, they’ll do it again.”