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There Is a Full-Blown Mutiny Happening at NBC Over Donald Trump’s Town Hall

There Is a Full-Blown Mutiny Happening at NBC Over Donald Trump’s Town Hall

The last 24 hours have been rought for NBC. The network on Wednesday announced that it would grant President Donald Trump’s request to hold a town hall at the same time ABC will be hosting one for former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, at 8:00 p.m Thursday night.

Photo by Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

Recall that NBC was the network behind “The Apprentice,” a reality show in which Trump played a billionaire who fired people for failing to complete various fool’s errands at his behest. The show provided Trump with a way of rebranding himself from a bankrupt casino owner into a successful New York City mega-developer. There is little truth to the latter.

The drama started on Wednesday and for a while was limited to social media, where the hastags #BoycottNBC and #NBCBlackout started trending in the afternoon.

“The point of a news organization is to serve the public. This is the opposite.@NBCNews could literally run this any other day, or any other time. Shameful. (Disclosure: I am a former NBC News exec),” Vivian Schiller, a former executive at NBC, CNN, The Discovery Channel, The New York Times, and NPR tweeted.

“#NBCBlackout,” Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, star of Seinfeld and Veep said.

“Having dueling town halls is bad for democracy-voters should be able to watch both and I don’t think many will. This will be good for Trump because people like to watch his unpredictability. This is a bad decision,” correspondent Katie Couric tweeted Wednesday. “Yes of course technology allows you to watch both. But many won’t and this will be used by the Trump campaign when it comes to ratings. Unforced error in my view.”

“Don’t watch the Trump Town Hall tomorrow on NBC,” said George Taki. “Catch the highlights later. Don’t give Trump a ratings win. Pass it on.”

The timing of the Trump town hall by @NBCNews is just so desperate and disgraceful. Don’t you have ANY integrity at all? Have you learned nothing? It’s pathetic. He’s a white supremacist who’s helped murder 220,000 Americans. What’s next? Hitler on America’s Got Talent?” wrote Billy Eichner. “Btw I’m seeing a lot of Hollywood friends on here who jump to comment on everything else who are silent on this. Speak up! This is EXACTLY what got us into this nightmare and why so many people are DEAD. Don’t worry, they’ll still hear ur f*cking Peacock pitch.”

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But by Thursday, scores of performers, producers, and NBC staff joined the internet’s condemnation of the network, which has escalated into a mutiny.

Comedian Conan O-Brien said that he “can’t remember the last time I was this shocked by an NBC programming decision.”

More than 100 of the most influential people in Hollywood signed a petition sent to Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, NBCUniversal chairman Jeff Shell and NBCUniversal News Group chairman Cesar Conde to reschedule the town hall that was published in The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday:

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.  

Biden and Trump were supposed to participate in their second debate on Thursday, but when a virtual platform was recommended after Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis, the president canceled.

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