After NBC scheduled President Trump’s town hall at the same time ABC scheduled Joe Biden’s, more than one hundred actors, producers, and writers at the network have been urging the company to reconsider its decision.
In an open letter signed by such big-name talents as Aaron Sorkin, Ava DuVernay, Amy Schumer, and Aubrey Plaza, the group claims that NBC’s decision puts the “political health of our democracy” at stake by forcing viewers to choose between President Trump and Joe Biden.
“We are a group of writers, actors, directors, and producers. Many of us have been lucky enough to work for NBCUniversal at some point in our careers,” the letter begins. “Some of us are currently employed at your studio. We have always thought of NBC Universal as both a terrific creative home and a brand that stands for the best in entertainment and broadcast journalism.”
“This is why we have been devastated to learn that you have chosen to air President Trump’s town hall this Thursday night at 8 pm, directly opposite Vice President Biden’s town hall,” it continues.
Even though virtually every single signatory of the letter is an outspoken Democrat, the group claims that their grievance is “not a partisan issue.” They reason that since President Trump refused to participate in a virtual debate, the network is therefore reinforcing his “bad behavior.”
“This is not a partisan issue. This is about the political health of our democracy,” it claims. “President Trump refused to participate in the virtual debate scheduled for Thursday night by the Presidential Debate Commission. By agreeing to air his town hall as counterprogramming opposite Vice President Biden’s town hall on ABC, you are enabling the President’s bad behavior while undercutting the Presidential Debate Commission and doing a disservice to the American public.”
“We believe this kind of indifference to the norms and rules of our democracy are what have brought our country to this perilous state,” it continues. “We are simply asking that NBC air the President’s town hall either before or after Vice President Biden’s so that American voters can have the opportunity to watch both.”
The letter concludes with an acknowledgment that NBC is a business while emphasizing the fact that “there are larger issues of civic responsibility at stake here.”
On Twitter, the letter signatories and non-signatories were equally as vociferous in their opposition to NBC’s decision.
“We have a show with @NBC & they have been very generous & supportive of us but giving Trump a platform against his opponent on the night of the canceled debate when Trump was the one who pulled out is really effed up. They should at least fill the town hall with Biden supporters,” tweeted “Ghostbusters” director Paul Feig.
We have a show with @NBC & they have been very generous & supportive of us but giving Trump a platform against his opponent on the night of the canceled debate when Trump was the one who pulled out is really effed up. They should at least fill the town hall with Biden supporters. https://t.co/4XPqzcRSD7
— Paul Feig (@paulfeig) October 15, 2020
“NBC has now decided that after he cowardly backed out of a debate to give Donald Trump an hour townhall opposite Joe Biden. All Trump wants to do is win the ratings game. He is more a game show host than a President,” tweeted Barbra Streisand.
NBC has now decided that after he cowardly backed out of a debate to give Donald Trump an hour townhall opposite Joe Biden. All Trumps wants to do is win the ratings game. He is more a game show host than a President.
— Barbra Streisand (@BarbraStreisand) October 14, 2020