During President Donald Trump’s town hall on Thursday, current and former showrunners, producers and stars — including a handful of current and former NBC talent — who signed a letter of protest against the event continued to criticize the network for its decision and how the event played out.
More than 100 top figures in the industry had criticized the network on Wednesday for choosing to air the town hall during the same day and time as ABC’s town hall with former vice president Joe Biden. Ahead of the airing of the town hall, many of those players stressed their support of their letter by sharing it on social media. This Is Us star Mandy Moore wrote, “As current NBC talent, I’m proud of our entire #thisisus cast for taking a stand and signing this. Tonight I will be watching @JoeBiden on @ABC.”
Once the town halls began, many in Hollywood took to Twitter to continue to call out NBC.
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit showrunner Warren Leight simply wrote, “Thursday night, and I’m ashamed of what’s on NBC tonight.”
Patton Oswalt, who stars on NBC’s A.P. Bio, hit on Trump’s skirting around denouncing QAnon, while also writing “there’s an adult on @ABC right now who’s mapping out how he’d get the country back on track, if you wanna tune in.”
Saturday Night Live‘s Trump impersonator Alec Baldwin tweeted, “…@NBCNews had a long and venerable history. Huntley-Brinkley, John Chancellor, Nancy Dickerson. Now, they are another casualty of the Trump era. Rest In Peace, NBC News.”
Former SNL castmember Taran Killam tweeted during the town hall, “No one should be watching @nbc. If you’re showing footage, commenting, promoting in any way you are failing.”
Will & Grace star Debra Messing, who earlier had tweeted #BoycottMSNBC #BoycottNBC, was tuned into her former network’s competition: “What a RELIEF! A calm, focused, richly informational town hall,” she wrote of the contrast, thanking Biden and ABC moderator George Stephanopoulos.
Chelsea Handler quipped on social media that she had planned on boycotting the event “but I couldn’t help myself, and it’s awesome. Trump is decomposing in real time, and I’m on my 2nd edible.” Once the hour-long event was over, the comedian commended moderator Savannah Guthrie, writing “I can’t believe this is your job.”
Billy Eichner also kept his reaction to the town hall fairly short, tweeting “NBC tonight” along with a clip of “Springtime for Hitler” from The Producers.
NBC News was blasted earlier after it announced it was scheduling a town hall with Trump for the same time (8 p.m. ET) as Joe Biden’s on ABC News. The Biden town hall was organized after Trump refused to participate in a virtual debate with Biden on Oct. 15, following his COVID-19 diagnosis, instead insisting on a live debate. (The White House has since publicly stated he has tested negative on several consecutive days.)
Multiple former and current NBC employees, along with the Hollywood stars, argued the network was shamelessly seeking ratings and fomenting division by allowing Trump to speak on his own, rather than forcing him to engage with his 2020 presidential-race rival.
Despite landing a platform at NBC, which maintained that it would host the Trump town hall on Thursday night in the face of backlash, Trump slammed his former Apprentice home during a rally early Thursday. He called NBC “the worst” and claimed he was being “set up” at the town hall, but had accepted the offer because “what the hell, we get a free hour on television.”