With the number 522,080 boldly emblazoned on the carton, about 100 demonstrators delivered a package to Comcast’s 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live executive producer Lorne Michaels on Wednesday night. That was the number of signatures that had been gathered on a petition calling on SNL to dis-invite Donald Trump from hosting the comedy show this week.
Promising a return en masse on Saturday evening with a protest march from Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue to the Rockefeller Center headquarters of Comcast and the famed SNL Studio 8H, the group chanted slogans, passed out fliers and spoke with the press about the symbolism of Trump’s scheduled appearance. “Hey hey, ho ho, Donald Trump has got to go!” was one reliable oldie brought into service. Livelier was a litany of questions, all of which ended with “Fight back!” — as in, “When immigrants are under attack, what do we do? Fight back!”
“We object to it, we object to it dearly as a result of the fact that he is a racist,” said Alexander Nogales, president and CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition. “The problem is that Saturday Night Live is not a news organization,” Nogales continued, “it is a cultural pop giant, and by having him on and Ha Ha Ha and Hee Hee Hee, all they’re doing is legitimatizing his views. We object to this…The Latino community os uniformly against him doing this.”
Prominent among the on-camera reporters covering the event was Univision journalist Victor Javier Solano, working with Enny Pichardo, another Univision journalist who’s had his own run-ins with candidate Trump. “We are painting ourselves as neutral,” Pichardo said, despite the fact that Trump said as recently as yesterday that he “loved” rival Telemundo over Univision. “For the moment,” he added. “But we do believe NBC is being hypocritical in having Trump on Saturday Night Live. It’s all about ratings, and money.”
Another member of the organizing coalition, Javier Nieves, chairman of the New York-based Campaign For Fair Latino Representation, pointed to the carton with the signatures. He wasn’t sure how many his own group was responsible for, but he looked approvingly at the crowd, in which there were probably as many reporters as protesters, and listened intently as Nogales spoke.
There’s been no response as yet from NBC. The group promised to return in force on Saturday evening.