From civil rights groups to lawmakers to Hollywood A-listers, members of the public are furious that the popular comedy program Saturday Night Live (SNL) has invited 2016 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump—whose rhetoric demonizing immigrants has reportedly inspired hate crimes—to host its November 7th show.
Organizations including the Hispanic Federation and the League of United Latin American Citizens are calling for a massive protest and march Saturday night from the Trump Tower to NBC's headquarters to send the message that "racism isn't funny." They've already been demonstrating all week, and numerous "Dump Trump" petitions circulating online have collectively garnered hundreds of thousands of signatures.
Meanwhile, a group called Deport Racism is offering $5,000 in cash to "anyone on the set of the show or in the studio audience who yells out or gets on camera during the live TV broadcast clearly heard in the TV broadcast saying 'Deport Racism' or 'Trump is a Racist.'"
And prominent Colombian-American actor and comedian John Leguizamo told Yahoo News this week that he is so offended he will henceforth boycott the show. "I find it hurtful and insulting, and you’re celebrating someone who has said some horrible things," he said. "I find it unacceptable. I will not watch... I won’t watch SNL anymore."
Even the Congressional Hispanic Caucus has thrown its hat into the ring, releasing a statement this week calling for NBC to rescind its invitation to Trump because his message "demonizing Latinos and immigrants has created fear within these communities around the country."
Prominent civil rights groups and hate crime watchdog organizations are echoing this warning.
"As one of the most popular late-night sketch comedy shows of all time, SNL has a wide influence on pop culture," Rashad Robinson, executive director of civil rights organization ColorOfChange.org, said earlier this week. "There’s mounting evidence that Donald Trump’s racist demagoguery is resulting in real-world violence, including physical and verbal intimidation, against people of color."
"Two weeks ago, at a rally in Virginia, when pro-immigration activists tried to interrupt Trump, his supporters physically attacked them," Robinson continued. "Just this past weekend a white nationalist convening called Trump an 'icebreaker' for the white nationalist cause—someone who is introducing and legitimizing the racist views of white nationalists to the mainstream public."
The Southern Poverty Law Center noted in August that an "energized rights nationalist movement" is rallying behind Trump's proposed immigration policies. "Trump’s toxic anti-immigrant rhetoric is not without consequence," the organization stated. "History tells us that specifically targeting a minority communities and whipping up a climate of fear and bigotry can have very real negative results."
Upon announcing his candidacy in June, the multi-billionaire Trump called Mexican immigrants "rapists" and "criminals"—then defended his comments as "entirely accurate" two weeks later. Trump's derogatory statements prompted several TV networks, including NBC, to cut ties with him this summer.
NBC and SNL have so far refused to respond to public outrage at their decision to invite Trump to host Saturday's show.
Updates and commentary are being posted to Twitter: