Why Is Donald Trump Hosting SNL?

By Sameer Rao Oct 14, 2015

Well, it seems like NBC may have patched things up with Donald Trump—and the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the country’s largest national Latino civil rights group, is none too happy.

The NCLR released a statement immediately after yesterday’s announcement from NBC that the Republican presidential candidate and business mogul* would host the November 7 episode of "Saturday Night Live" (almost a year before Election Day). In the statement sent to Colorlines, NCLR president and CEO Janet Murguía addressed the importance of the late-night institution to our political culture, saying that his hosting is an affront to civil rights:

This is not about lacking a sense of humor. Everyone knows that SNL is not just a comedy show. For the last 40 years, it has become a highly coveted platform for candidates from political parties who are looking to reach and connect with the American public. It is appalling, then, that a show with that history and that role to showcase a man whose campaign has been built on bigotry and demagoguery for the sake of buzz and ratings.

Murguía also noted the dramatic reversal in NBC’s position on Trump, given that the company severed ties with him over his xenophobic and racist statements when he announced his political candidacy. "Since then he has only gotten worse and more divisive, so this change of heart is even more troubling," she added.

The statement also touched on SNL’s endemic issues with diversity, especially when it comes to the lack of Latino cast members and the numerous sketches built on racist and sexist sterotypes:

It is especially galling that this golden opportunity for Trump to mainstream his message of hate has come from a show that in its 40-year history has had just one Hispanic cast member, has never had a Latina cast member on the show yet has consistently engaged in Latina stereotyping over the years, and has brushed aside our community’s concerns when we have pointed that out. 

Trump notably hosted the show in 2004, when he was promoting "The Apprentice." He is currently portrayed by SNL cast member Taran Killam.

(H/t NBC News

*Post has been updated since publication