Seth Rogen, Ava DuVernay And 100+ Other Celebs Sign Petition Protesting NBC’s Trump Town Hall

seth rogen and ava duvernay

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105 actors, producers and executives have signed a letter petitioning NBC to cancel their prime time town hall with Donald Trump scheduled for tonight. The letter, sent to NBCUniversal and Comcast execs decries the network for “enabling the president’s bad behavior while undercutting the Presidential Debate Commission and doing a disservice to the American public.” Trump’s hour-long town hall is scheduled to air at 8PM ET, directly opposite Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s town hall which will air ABC at the same time.

Biden’s town hall was organized and scheduled prior to Trump’s, after Trump declined to participate in a virtual debate with his political opponent. While candidates are guaranteed equal air time, the scheduling of the event directly opposite Biden’s is peculiar and, in the words of longtime NBC employee Katie Couric, a “bad decision.”

The contents of the letter appealing to NBC and Comcast chiefs are in full below, along with the names of everyone who signed it:

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. 

Signed…

Aaron Sorkin

Adam McKay

Adam Scott

Alex Barnow

Allison Tolman

Amy Lippman

Amy Schumer

Aubrey Plaza

Ava DuVernay

Ayelet Waldman

Ben Stiller

Billy Eichner

Billy Porter

Brendan Gall

Chelsea Handler

Chris Bishop

Chris Meloni

Chris Miller

Chris Sullivan

Chrissy Metz

Courtney Kemp

Dahvi Waller

Damon Lindelof

Dan Fogelman

Daniel Hageman

David A. Goodman

David Guggenheim

Debra Messing

Ely Henry

Emily Gordon

Eric Guggeheim

Greg Berlanti

JJ Abrams

Jason Moore

Jennifer Yale

Jill Knox

Jim Parriott

Joe Mantello

Jon Cryer

Jon Hamm

Jon Huertas

Josh Gad

Josh Singer

Julianne Moore

Julie Plec

Justin Hartley

Keith Powell

Kenya Barris

Kevin Hageman

Kumail Nanjiani

Laeta Kalogridis

Latoya Morgan

Mandy Moore

Marc Guggenheim

Mariska Hargitay

Marti Noxon

Martin Gero

Matthew Lopez

Max Mutchnick

Michael Chabon

Michael Green

Michele Fazekas

Milo Ventimiglia

Neal Baer

Nicholas Stoller

Nicole Yorkin

Otmara Marrero

Parvesh Cheena

Patton Oswalt

Phil Lord

Preacher Lawson

Robert Kirkman

Ryan Murphy

Samuel Baum

Sarah Schechter

Sarah Silverman

Sarah Treem

Seth Grahame-Smith

Seth Rogen

Shakina Nayfack

Sophia Bush

Sterling K. Brown

Sunil Nayir

Susan Kelechi Watson

Tara Butters

Terry Matalas

Thor Freudenthal

Tom McCarthy

Tony Kushner

Travis Beacham

Vanessa Taylor

Zoe Lister-Jones

Ken Olin

Abbi Jacobson

Alison Janney

David Kohan

Robert King

Malcolm Spellman

Seth MacFarlane

Marjorie David

Donald Faison

Chris Misiano

David Goyer

Julie Martin

Joss Whedon

Chairman of the NBCUniversal News Group, Cesar Conde, has heard the complaints lodged against the network and issued the following statement: “Our decision is motivated only by fairness, not business considerations. We aired a town hall with Vice President Biden on October 5 at 8pm. If we were to move our town hall with President Trump to a later time slot we would be violating our commitment to offer both campaigns access to the same audience and the same forum. We hope voters will watch both discussions – ours will be available at any time, free and on-demand on YouTube, Peacock and all our digital news platforms.” In other words, sorry, Detectives Benson and Stabler, we appreciate your services in the SVU but we won’t be hiring you on our programming team.

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