Nice Try, SNL, But Who Is Laughing Now? (OPINION)

Nov 14, 2016
1:45 PM

If you logged onto social media on Sunday morning, you probably saw the countless posts of Saturday Night Live’s touching tribute of Hillary Clinton. Singing the late Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” on the piano, Hillary (played by cast member Kate McKinnon) emotionally asked us to stay strong in the face of this week’s shocking election results.

While I am still trying to understand why this election played out the way it did, I do know one thing: SNL has no moral standing in telling its audience to not give up on the heels of a Trump presidency.

Last November, SNL, led by its producer Lorne Michaels, invited Donald Trump to host the popular TV show. As a member of the Latinx community, I was outraged by this invitation and rightfully so. Mr. Trump, on the day he announced his run for president, called Mexicans rapists and criminals and even accused Mexico of not sending “their best.” I asked myself then, why would SNL provide this man a platform that is rooted in hate, racism and xenophobia?

I was not the only who was vehemently upset by his invitation to host the show. The members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus issued a letter to NBC Universal and SNL asking them to disinvite the Republican candidate. Their efforts were bolstered by an online petition that was signed by half a million people and by hundreds of brave protesters who stood outside SNL’s studios to show their opposition.

Yet the show went on and so did Donald Trump’s campaign in becoming the Republican nominee for president. We all know now who Donald Trump eventually turned out to be in the following months during the campaign: a perpetrator of sexual assault, a tax con man and a housing discriminator against people of color.

So the question for SNL I now have is this: would you do it again?

As this country grieves and figures out its next steps in living in Trump’s America, especially our 11 million undocumented brothers and sisters whose futures are now uncertain, let us move forward together as a nation in combating the hate and oppression that Latinxs will experience over these next four years. But let us never forget the mistakes of the past from our so-called allies in the media.

Trump’s appearance on the show may have been just a joke then, but who is laughing now?


Christian Arana is a Masters of Public Policy Student at the Goldman School of Public Policy, UC Berkeley. He tweets from @christianarana.