Hank Stuever’s Dec. 19 Style review of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” [“It’s still a good try!”] limited the context to a racial perspective. This season, controversy swirled around the show’s lack of female African American cast members, but journalists failed to note that the “SNL” cast also had no Latinos and no Asians.
In fact, in the show’s 39 seasons, it has never had a Latina cast member. Only two Latinos have ever been hired as cast members: Chilean American Horatio Sanz, who left the show in 2006, and Fred Armisen, whose mother is Venezuelan and who left the cast last season .
The show has had only 20 Latino hosts — on average, only one every two years. Sixteen Latino musical guests have appeared 31 times, broken down evenly by gender.This season, adding further insult to injury, there have been zero Latino hosts and zero Latino musical guests. Yet according to Nielsen, for the first 10 “SNL” shows of the season, Latinos averaged 9 percent of the show’s viewership.
Sadly, the media have not held Lorne Michaels, the “SNL” creator and executive producer, accountable for this persistent lack of inclusivity.
When political incorrectness, such as the recent comments by Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty,” occurs on the right, the media generate a scorched-earth response; when it occurs from the left, as in the case of “SNL” casting, the media applaud a humorous apologia that deflects accountability. Note to media reporters: Both Robertson’s and Michaels’s actions are offensive and inexcusable.
Felix Sanchez, Washington
The writer is chairman of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts.