Over 100 actors, directors, writers, and more have signed an open letter protesting tonight’s NBC town hall with Donald Trump. The event is scheduled to begin at 8pm ET and air in direct conflict with ABC’s town hall with Joe Biden. The Trump town hall is set to run for 60 minutes and will cut into the first hour of Biden’s 90 minute town hall. The petition letter is signed by the likes of Seth Rogen, J.J. Abrams, Ava DuVernay, Sarah Silverman, Adam McKay, Kumail Nanjiani, Aaron Sorkin, and more.
“We have been devastated to learn that [NBCUniversal] has chosen to air President Trump’s town hall this Thursday night at 8 p.m., directly opposite Vice President Biden’s town hall,” the petition states. “This is not a partisan issue. This is about the political health of our democracy.
Trump and Biden were originally scheduled to take part in an in-person debate tonight, but Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis waylaid the event. When the Commission on Presidential Debates decided to make the event virtual, Trump declined to participate. Biden set up a town hall with ABC to replace the canceled debate. NBC later set up a town hall with Trump to air at the exact same time.
“We believe this kind of indifference to the norms and rules of our democracy are what have brought our country to this perilous state,” the petition 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. We understand the necessities of business, especially in this difficult time. But we believe there are larger issues of civic responsibility at stake here.”
George Stephanopoulos is moderating ABC’s Biden town hall, while “Today” co-anchor Savannah Guthrie is moderating NBC’s Trump town hall. Read the full protest letter below, courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter.
To Brian Roberts, Jeff Shell and Cesar Conde:
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. Some of us are currently employed at your studio. We have always thought of NBCUniversal 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 p.m., directly opposite Vice President Biden’s town hall.
This is not a partisan issue. This is about the political health of our democracy.
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.
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.
We understand the necessities of business, especially in this difficult time. But we believe there are larger issues of civic responsibility at stake here.
David A. Goodman
Sterling K. Brown
Susan Kelechi Watson