Over 100 top Hollywood designers and stars have signed a letter to NBC opposing the network’s decision to host a town hall event with President Donald Trump on Thursday night instead of the scheduled presidential debate, as current and former NBC employees continue to speak out against the event that takes place at the same time as Joe Biden holds a long-scheduled town hall on ABC.
The letter, which was sent to executives at Comcast and NBCUniversal, said Hollywood numbers were “devastated” by the network’s decision to broadcast Trump’s town hall directly against Biden, saying NBC “allowed bad behavior of the President while undermining the Presidential Debate Commission and doing a disservice to the American public.
Among those who signed the letter were major players affiliated with NBC such as west wing creator Aaron Sorkin and star Allison Janney, Law and Order: SVU star Mariska Hargitay, Will & Grace star Debra Messing and cast from other NBC shows including It’s us and Parks and recreation.
The letter followed a series of criticisms from current and former NBC employees on Wednesday: Martin gero and Brendan Gall, the creators of the NBC comedy series Link, said on Twitter that they “vigorously oppose” the town hall’s programming and called for the event to be rescheduled, and Link star Shakina Nayfack tweeted that she is “disgusted with my home network giving Trump a platform for fear, bigotry and disinformation.”
Old Today anchor Katie Couric tweeted On Wednesday, “having city halls in a duel is bad for democracy” by forcing voters to choose, calling it a “bad decision” and predicting that city hall “will be good for Trump because people like to watch its unpredictability” .
Mark Lukasiewicz, Former NBC News Producer noted opposing town halls were “a bad result for American voters”, and former NBC News executive vice president Cheryl Gould wrote on Facebook she was “appalled” and “disgusted” that NBC was “complicit in the Trump crisis”.
Merrill Brown, the former editor of MSNBC.com, said Variety that even if the network had the “right instinct” in organizing a town hall, it “could have held it at a point which was not in front of ABC”.
“It’s not a partisan issue. This is about the political health of our democracy, ”the Hollywood actors wrote. “We believe that this kind of indifference to the norms and rules of our democracy is what brought our country to this perilous state.”
In a declaration published after the publication of the Hollywood letter, NBCUniversal News Group chairman Cesar Conde said the network “shared[s] in frustration “that the event will be broadcast against Biden’s town hall, and said the decision was” driven only by fairness, not commercial considerations, “citing the network’s previous town hall at 8 p.m. with Biden on Oct. 5. “If we were to move our town hall with President Trump to a later time slot, we would be violating our commitment to give both campaigns access to the same audience and to the same forum,” Conde said. “We hope voters will watch both talks. “
What to watch out for
The face-to-face between Trump and Biden’s town hall dueling events is expected to go as currently planned and could become a chance for Trump to brag about his ratings against Biden’s appearance on ABC. Sources close to Trump’s thought cited by the Daily beast said on Wednesday that Trump would like to use his mayoralty against Biden to get higher marks and “humiliate” the Democratic candidate. NBC “gives Trump exactly what he wants,” senior network executive says CNN. As a result, appeals have been growth on social media to boycott NBC Town Hall and watch Biden Town Hall instead.
Trump’s NBC town hall takes place in Miami on Thursday night at 8:00 p.m., and Trump will answer questions from voters in Florida alongside NBC’s Savannah Guthrie. The town hall lineup was the latest twist in the saga on Thursday night’s lineup following Trump’s positive diagnosis of Covid-19, as the Presidential Debates Committee initially made the decision to move the scheduled presidential debate that evening to a virtual format. Trump finally refused to participate into the debate whether it was virtual and the event was canceled, and Biden scheduled his ABC town hall right after Trump’s withdrawal from the event. NBC said its town hall would be held outside with social distancing measures in place, and the network received a statement from the National Institutes of Health indicating that clinical director Dr Clifford Lane and Dr Anthony Fauci had “Concluded” with a high degree of confidence “that the president does not exceed infectious virus.