Donald Trump is hosting “Saturday Night Live.” But even before his appearance, there were already plenty of controversial issues. Shocking, right? Here are the top three:
1) Protests from advocacy groups.
In June, NBC cut ties with the former “Apprentice” star after he called Mexican immigrants “rapists” during his presidential announcement; the network also condemned his comments. So some people (probably including a few Spanish-language network Univision, which dropped Trump’s Miss Universe pageant along with NBC) were quite surprised when the network welcomed him back.
Activists sent NBC petitions with half a million signatures demanding that Trump be dropped from “SNL” and protested outside the studio. The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda sent NBC a letter saying that Trump’s appearance on the show will “legitimize and validate his anti-Latino comments.” According to Page Six, one advocacy group is offering $5,000 to anyone who will yell “Trump is a racist” in the studio. Many more have spoken out; NBC hasn’t wavered from its plans.
2) The mysteriously missing Ben Carson insult promo video.
As custom, NBC released multiple promotional videos this week of Trump with cast member Cecily Strong. One of them featured Trump calling fellow GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson “a complete and total loser.” Then, suddenly, the Carson comment vanished. NBC told the network’s Peter Alexander that the clip with the Carson comment was posted by accident, so it was removed.
3) Equal time
The issue of “equal time” (the FCC rule that tries to make sure candidates get the same amount of time on television) has come up multiple times as Trump is set to host the 90-minute broadcast.
“Politicians haven’t made a habit of invoking the rule, but the issue has come up in this campaign season,” The Switch’s Brian Fung writes. “After Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton appeared on ‘SNL’ last month, NBC … sent a memo to its network affiliates warning them that they could be asked to provide equal time.”
While the choice to seek out equal time on the network would be up to the individual candidate, regulators will be paying attention.
“Unlike Hillary making a very short one-sketch appearance, this candidate is going to be hosting and on throughout the program,” Campaign Legal Center’s policy director Meredith McGehee told Variety. “To me that has kind of crossed the Maginot Line in terms of triggering” the rule.
(This post has been updated.)