Congressman to Comcast: Don’t Let Donald Trump Host Saturday Night Live

Read the pointed letter that Illinois Democrat Luis Gutiérrez sent to Comcast/NBCUniversal heads Brian Roberts and Steve Burke.

Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez in his official photo / Presidential candidate Donald Trump by Michael Vadon via Wikimedia Commons

Illinois Congressman Luis Gutiérrez in his official photo / Presidential candidate Donald Trump by Michael Vadon via Wikimedia Commons

At some point in the future, we’re pretty sure that the world will be able to go a day without a Donald Trump headline. Alas, today is not that day, with Illinois Congressman Luis Gutiérrez up in arms over NBCUniversal’s decision to allow Trump to host Saturday Night Live on November 7th. And Gutiérrez has fired off a letter to Philadelphia’s own Comcast, which owns NBCUniversal, demanding that the company disinvite Trump.

Gutierrez sent the letter on Tuesday to Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke. Here is the letter in full:

Having Donald Trump as a guest on every news and entertainment program is one thing, but allowing him to host Saturday Night Live is another. It is a level of endorsement that says to America that every hateful and racist thing Donald Trump has said since the moment he launched his campaign is acceptable and no big deal.

Well, it is a big deal. He said Mexicans are rapists, criminals and drug-dealers, and to be clear, when he said Mexicans are those things, he was tarring all Latinos and all immigrants. His exact words were, “They’re sending us not the right people. It’s coming from more than Mexico. It’s coming from all over South and Latin America, and it’s coming probably from the Middle East.”

The reaction in July from NBC was swift and clear: “Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump.” And NBC said, “Respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values.”

Serta, Macy’s, NASCAR, Univision, and ESPN were among the others that also acted to dump Trump.

Three months later, because he is a ratings and comedy bonanza, Lorne Michaels and Saturday Night Live (SNL) are giving the Trump campaign 90 minutes of free network airtime.

I think I speak for a lot of Americans, especially immigrant Americans and Latino Americans, when I say that if SNL is allowed to proceed, it would be a huge corporate blunder.

When Comcast sought a merger with Time Warner, I and a lot of my Congressional Hispanic Caucus colleagues heard from you about your commitment to the Latino community and the level of corporate responsibility you pledged to your diverse audience. I certainly hope that your commitment to “respect and dignity for all people” was not some hollow promise and is in fact a cornerstone of your values.

Please disinvite him. Make a statement: Derogatory statements of the nature trumpeted by Trump about any group disqualifies someone from hosting shows on your network. Send a message that racism is not funny and that responsibility to your viewers and the public is more important than ratings. It is a chance for your company – again – to show you are committed to your audience in more ways than just the ad revenues they provide you.

Please do the right thing and dump Trump.

But Gutiérrez isn’t just sending letters. He’s also expected to speak out against the company and Trump from the House floor on Wednesday. Comcast has yet to comment on the matter. Meanwhile, the Washington Post ponders whether the Trump appearance could “open up a legal can of worms,” since all of the other presidential candidates could argue that they are legally entitled to equal time on the network, and that’s a scary prospect. Although Dr. Ben Carson could be fun.


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