Saturday Night Live found itself in hot water recently after announcing Republican candidate Donald Trump would be hosting the show this coming Saturday.
SNL is known for calling attention to certain controversial issues in the news, pointing out problems in the world that traditional news sources may not necessarily be pointing out. With the 2016 presidential election campaigns in full swing, SNL has drawn attention to the flaws of certain candidates, including Trump. While SNL has many times hosted guests who have been previously made fun of in segment skits, it’s different this time. Trump has been heavily scrutinized not only by many major news programs, but also by SNL in regard to his racist attitude toward Mexican immigrants, among other issues.
Trump has stated multiple times, both during one-on-one interviews and live debates, his intense stance on Mexican immigrants. Many believe he is racist, especially following his presidential announcement speech where he said, “They’re [Mexicans are] bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” This is just one of the many times Trump has been quoted making horrendously false assumptions about an entire group of people. And this is when SNL should be highlighting Trump’s flaws through sketches, with cast members bringing to light the racism Trump promotes. However, they are doing just the opposite; they’re giving Trump positive attention in the media.
Many people believe that if the show had permanent Mexican cast members, Trump would not be hosting. This shines light on problems SNL continuously faces concerning race issues. Just a couple years ago, when SNL was criticized for having no African-American female cast members, they hired three African-American women, two of whom became permanent cast members. By doing this, SNL believed they’d solved the problem of having a predominantly white cast. However, many of the African-American cast members were part of controversial sketches, including a sketch featuring Leslie Jones. Jones played a character who said her love life would have been better during times of slavery. With controversial sketches like this along with an upcoming host that is known for racism, SNL has dug itself deeper into a hole.
Because SNL is having Trump host, it seems as though they are endorsing his ideas through the positive image of him they are creating. When a celebrity hosts the show, especially if they have recently received a lot of negative press, they gain a great deal of good publicity. If SNL is showing their support for the celebrity, it must mean that the celebrity is worth forgiving. Millions of people watch SNL, not only for its humor, but also because it is a very progressive show, honing in on key issues the country faces. For the evening, the host represents the show. By having Trump be one of these representatives, many will be turned off by SNL.
With only a few short days until the show goes live, it will be interesting to see how SNL incorporates Trump into its sketches. Hosting SNL will definitely win Trump popularity points by many Americans. On the other hand, it will also alienate many of SNL’s key audience members by showing support for such a racist candidate. I know I will definitely be watching to see what kind of show SNL and Trump create.