Donald Trump will host Saturday Night Live this weekend, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.
For weeks, NBC has resisted an onslaught of pressure to rescind its invitation to the billionaire Republican presidential candidate to host the November 7 episode.
And the pressure has been relentless.
Hispanic advocacy groups led the charge. Just days after NBC announced Trump would host the November 7 episode of SNL, the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda — a coalition of 40 Hispanic advocacy groups — fired off a strongly-worded letter to NBCUniversal CEO Stephen Burke and SNL showrunner Lorne Michaels, claiming they were “flabbergasted” that the networks would allow Trump on.
“Allowing Trump to host SNL will legitimize and validate his anti-Latino comments,” the group wrote. “NHLA had praised NBCUniversal, when it severed its ties with Donald Trump. 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.”
That got the ball rolling. The following week, advocacy groups created the hashtag #RacismIsntFunny, which quickly began trending on Twitter. The pro-immigration group America’s Voice set up a corresponding website, racismisntfunny.com, where concerned citizens could sign one of about a dozen petitions calling for NBC and SNL to ditch Trump. By Friday, the website claimed that more than 500,000 people had signed the various petitions.
As NBC remained silent and November dawned, Hispanic lawmakers joined the protest. The 26-member Congressional Hispanic Caucus approved an official “Statement of Opposition” calling on NBC to disinvite Trump from SNL, saying his “racist remarks and his continued rhetoric demonizing Latinos and immigrants has created fear within these communities around the country.”
The resolution called for NBC to ditch Trump because “racism is not funny,” and further urged the network to sever all business relationships with the Republican candidate.
Still, NBC did not respond. With Saturday night looming and frustratingly little progress being made, anti-Trumpers kicked it up a notch. On Monday, Caucus member Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) took to CNN to accuse Saturday Night Live of “endangering Latinos” by allowing Trump to host the episode. The same day, 50 Hispanic cultural leaders — including Oscar-wnning director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, actor Diego Luna and author Junot Diaz — signed a letter accusing Trump of propagating “hate speech” that had begun to cause “physical aggressions against Latinos.”
Actor John Leguizamo joined the effort this week, telling Yahoo News that he would be boycotting SNL entirely. And former SNL cast member and actress Nora Dunn penned the obligatory Huffington Post op-ed: “His kind of comedy works best in a debate with the rest of the lightweights he’s running with,” Dunn wrote. “He’s a lout, a boor, and a jerk.”
By mid-week, anti-Trump campaigners had abandoned all pretense of civilized protest. The radical, pro-amnesty group Deport Racism — the same group behind a video featuring young children shouting obscenities at Trump — offered a $5,000 reward for anyone who would interrupt the live taping of the episode Saturday night by shouting, “Trump is a racist!”
“We’re hoping the $5,000 will help people on set or in the studio audience find the bravery to speak out loudly and help focus the national conversation on that we need to deport racism, not people,” a spokesman for the group said in a statement announcing the bounty.
Of course, NBC hasn’t so much as acknowledged the protests, let alone rescinded its invitation to Trump. The network is banking on big ratings for this weekend’s episode; if not the biggest ratings ever, then certainly near the top for the entirety of the show’s four-decade run. In September, Trump’s appearance on NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon gave that program its biggest Friday ratings boost in 18 months.
In an interview with Breitbart News Daily on Thursday, Trump said he expects Saturday night’s show to proceed smoothly.
“Honestly, [the controversy] only makes it hotter,” Trump told Breitbart News.
The Trump-hosted episode of Saturday Night Live airs this Saturday, November 7, at 11:30/10:30c, with musical guest Sia. Check out NBC’s promo for the show below.