LATINO VOICES

Was That Anti-Trump 'SNL' Protest A Success? Depends Who You Ask

"We made our presence felt and we talked about how hurtful the words that Donald Trump has said about the Latino community [were]."

Last Saturday, Donald Trump graced the "Saturday Night Live" stage as host, defying the protesters and other groups who had condemned NBC for allowing the 2016 candidate's appearance. Although activists say their work was a success, they remain split over their anti-Trump advocacy work and the tactics that were used to draw attention to the issue. 

According to campaign manager of DeportRacism.com, Luke Montgomery, his organization achieved the desired effect. 

Before Trump's controversial appearance, DeportRacism.com, a Latino political action committee focused on "fighting anti-Latino and anti-immigrant racism in the 2016 election," had offered $5,000 to anyone willing to heckle Trump on-air. Larry David unexpectedly obliged -- although, it was part of the scripted opening monologue -- calling Trump a "racist" during the broadcast.

In an interview with HuffPost Live on Monday, Montgomery said he was happy to see his organization change the conversation about Trump's "SNL" appearance.

"We love that they actually were forced to incorporate it into the show because they were so terrified that somebody in the audience would take DeportRacism.com up on our offer for the $5,000 bounty to call him a racist," he said. "So it was very unexpected. It may have been a joke, but what he said was true. What it had the effect of doing was creating headlines around the world, and it's been amazing, paring the word 'Trump' with 'racist,' and that is exactly what we wanted to do."

But Brent Wilkes, the national executive director at LULAC, took another position. Wilkes agreed that "you really shouldn't feature a racist on any type of comedy show," but took issue with Montgomery's tactics -- both the $5,000 reward for deriding Trump on air and his obscenity-laced videos. 

"Frankly, Mr. Montgomery is primarily interested in promoting his website and his shock videos, and yeah, that's why I think he was delighted that Larry David made fun of the whole thing on 'Saturday Night Live,'" he told host Alyona Minkovski. "We're not delighted. We thought it was offensive and yet another blow against the Latino community." 

Wilkes said LULAC's protest, where roughly 200 protesters marched down from Fifth Avenue to the "SNL" studio at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, in order to rally with additional activists, reaped success in another way.

"We made our presence felt and we talked about how hurtful the words that Donald Trump has said about the Latino community [were]," he said. "Certainly, the folks at 30 Rockefeller Plaza noticed us. Both the people waiting to go in and watch the performance, as well as all the executives and staff that were inside the tower."

With regard to David's bold proclamation during the "SNL" episode, Montgomery said the comedian can expect to see the reward money sometime soon.

"DeportRacism.com is going to pony up, and we're in contact with Mr. David's agents and we're going to give him the $5,000 reward," he said. "We haven't heard back from them yet, but we couldn't be happier with how it helped get the message out about Trump's racism against Latinos."

Hear more about the debate over Trump's "SNL" appearance in the HuffPost Live videos above. 

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