2ND UPDATE, 8:20 AM: Marni Halasa’s website is revolutionissexy.com and she proved to be her own best advertisement at Saturday evening’s rally protesting Donald Trump’s hosting of NBC’s Saturday Night Live. Halasa tells Deadline that while she is indeed an activist on a mission, she works in support of causes she believes in and was not compensated for her appearance at the rally, in which she wore a skin-tight red devil’s costume festooned with fake dollar bills, and held a sign that said Congrats SNL Ratings Hotter Than HELL.
“I thought your story was spot on,” Halasa wrote us in an email. “Right-wing extremists are inaccurately saying that LULAC and other Hispanic groups organizing the protest had hired protesters to attend the rally — and that they hired me as a performance artist. I was NOT hired. I am an activist with the Alternative Banking Group, www.altbanking.net, a lawyer and journalist, but I also am a professional figure skater, NYC parade personality and political performance artist. I was inspired by Occupy Wall Street and believe in the power of performance, dance, theater, comedy and its ability to connect with passers-by. This has always been a labor of love and I honestly have NEVER been paid a dime for it.”
UPDATE, Saturday, 6:15 PM with more information throughout: Hundreds of banner-waving, slogan-shouting protesters marched this evening down Fifth Avenue to the NBC Studios at Rockefeller Center to express their anger over tonight’s Saturday Night Live host, Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump. Sponsors of the “March to Stop the Hate” included CUNY Dreamers, Make the Road, America’s Voice, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the Hispanic Federation, the National Hispanic Media Coalition, the Labor Council for the Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), the National Institute for Latino Policy, Answer Coalition, New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE), and NYC LGBTQS Chamber of Commerce Inc.
The 6 PM gathering at Trump Tower, at 55th Street, brought only a few hundred people, but the march gathered steam as police escorted the group down the east side of Fifth Avenue, crossing over at 49th Street and into Rockefeller Center. Several hundred more people were waiting across from the entrance to the building, just a few hundred feet from where the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree had just arrived and stood, unadorned and looking rather somber, encaged in a wooden frame and looming over the ice-skating rink.
Back on the street, the crowd had grown to between 500 and 1,000 (no NYPD crowd estimate was immediately available) and was chanting anti-SNL and -Trump slogans, including “Racism Is No Joke!” while raising their banners and, in one case, a Trump effigy. As with the initial protest earlier this week, when more than half-a-million signatures on a petition imploring SNL executive producer Lorne Michaels to disinvite Trump were delivered to the same address, a number of humorous agitprop costumes were in evidence. One woman was dressed in a fiery red Devil’s costume and held a placard that proclaimed “Congrats SNL Ratings Hotter Than HELL!” but while she declined to give her name she did tell a reporter that she was a pro hired to add some visual sizzle to the event. She succeeded.
Also in the crowd was a regular known to workers in this media-centric district, with an anti-Semitic sign to which he had added an anti-Latino sentiment for good measure. The police calmly explained to the crowd that he had the right to be there, until he got into a scuffle with several protesters who began chanting “No More Hate!” The police escorted him a few hundred feet away, and he promptly crossed the street to join the handful of anti-anti-Trump protesters, whose signs said “Donald Trump Is Hosting SNL Get Over It!” and another that was more crudely anti-Latino.
(additional video below)
Apparently unfazed by the protest (or relishing the attention), Trump has been Tweeting and retweeting throughout the day, most recently (as of this posting):
I am at the Saturday Night Live Studio – electricity all over the place. We will be doing a “tweeting” skit, so stay tuned!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 8, 2015
NBC also is looking forward to the show’s best ratings in years:
— Saturday Night Live (@nbcsnl) November 8, 2015