Protesters gathered outside NBC studios at 30 Rockefeller Center in New York on Saturday night to show their anger that GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump was hosting the weekly sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live.
Latino groups in particular have been angered by Trump’s appearance on the program, highlighting his racist statements about Mexican immigrants, which have included calling them criminals and vowing to deport all undocumented people. According to NBC News, about 200 people were gathered outside the studio. Some had marched from Trump Towers, which is blocks away.
“When he says that he plans to deport 11 million people, he’s not joking about that. When he calls immigrants rapists murders and drug dealers, he’s also not joking about that,” protester Juan Escalante, 26, told NBC. “At the end of the day, there is nothing funny about what Donald Trump has had to say about our communities.”
The political action committee Deport Racism has offered $5,000 to any hecklers who call out Trump as racist during the show’s live filming. Many, like actor and comedian John Leguizamo, joined protesters’ sentiments by promising to abandon SNL.
“It is hate-mongering,” Leguizamo had said.. “I find it hurtful and insulting, and you’re celebrating someone who has said some horrible things. If [Trump] had said those things about any other ethnic group, he would not be on SNL.”
According to NBC News, hundreds of thousands of people had signed an unheeded petition for the station to pull Trump from hosting.
A smaller group of counter-protesters was also present.
“Trump is here to stay,” Jill Mika told NBC News. “He’s going to be our next president. Deal with it.”