'Saturday Night Live' Is Getting Protested Over Donald Trump's Hosting Gig

Saturday night will feature an unprecedented sight in American politics: a contending presidential candidate hosting an entire episode of the iconic TV show Saturday Night Live, while still in the thick of a primary race. And he happens to also be one of the most crass, controversial presidential candidates in modern memory — Donald Trump's Saturday Night Live appearance is drawing protests, with Deadline.com reporting that hundreds have shown up outside NBC Studios in Manhattan to make their displeasure heard.

The reason for the protests is simple enough: although Trump is in many ways an entertainingly bizarre and revealing political phenomenon, there's nothing funny or lighthearted about racially inflammatory rhetoric from an ostensible political leader. Trump's entire campaign was essentially born on a razor's edge of racist rhetoric; while everyone remembers how he once labelled Latino immigrants "rapists" and "criminals" (concluding "and some, I assume, are good people"), it's easy to forget that he said so within the first five minutes of his presidential announcement speech.

In other words, in Donald Trump's very first, easily scripted and controlled moment as a candidate for president, he turned his belligerent ire on Latinos. And unsurprisingly, there are plenty of people who object to that kind of rhetoric being rewarded with a prime platform like SNL.

According to NY1, Trump has said that he welcomes the protests, and that's no surprise — his entire political and personal brands are largely hinged on his never backing down and never ceding an inch, but there's no benefit to him breathing fire in this situation when he can play it cool. After all, he claims to have designs on winning the Latino vote in 2016 — if nothing else, he can't be accused of pessimism.

For SNL, it's just another headache over their decision to bring Trump in. In addition to the controversy as relates to race, it's also earned them some scrutiny over the FCC's so-called equal time rules. SNL, suffice to say, is an enormous chance for exposure, and with no other Republican candidate being quite the ratings-magnet that Trump is, it's an opportunity he was singularly likely to get.

For what it's worth, Saturday won't be Trump's first time on the long-running comedy show, either. He also hosted an episode back in 2004, although that was long before he was a racially inflammatory presidential candidate. In those days, he was just a self-aggrandizing businessman and reality TV host, and as such, he wasn't nearly so controversial.