SNL’s exclusion of only Latinx candidate sparks controversy


Juan Diaz / Hilltop Views

Castro is currently polling at one percent according to Real Clear Politics. Despite being only one point behind Booker and O’Rourke, he was not represented on SNL.

Saturday Night Live is a show designed to be lighthearted, poking fun at current events. It has allowed viewers to distract themselves through comedy for over 40 years. The most recent episode, however, caused some controversy surrounding one of their politically-themed skits. 

A sketch was performed of a parody of the DNC Impeachment Town Hall on Sept. 28. This skit featured various actors portraying the different Presidential Democratic candidates. Portrayed were Kamala Harris (Maya Rudolph), Elizabeth Warren (Kate McKinnon), Joe Biden (Woody Harrelson), Bernie Sanders (Larry David), Beto O’Rourke (Alex Moffat), Andrew Yang (Bowen Yang), Pete Buttigieg (Colin Jost), Cory Booker (Chris Redd) and Marianne Williamson (Chloe Fineman). The skit, however, failed to include a portrayal of Julian Castro, causing anger and outrage among viewers and the general public. 

The absence of Castro could be explained by some as an accident, or a deliberate decision due to him polling lower than many of the other candidates. However, some felt that his  absence had to do with SNL’s lack of desire to hire a Latino actor for the part, as Castro is the only Latino candidate in the primary. Many feel that the failure to include Castro proves a lack of diversity in the show. 

Sawyer Hackett, Castro’s press secretary, tweeted, “Interesting that @nbcsnl decided to cut one candidate out of this sketch. Could you not find a Latino actor to play @JulianCastro?”. Considering the fact that outside actors (non-cast members) such as Larry David and Maya Rudolph were brought in to play a few of the other roles, I can understand why people are  upset about the situation. 

In addition to this particular sketch, SNL has been criticized in the past for lacking representation in previous skits as well as with its existing cast members. After the skit aired, many tweeted their opinions on the situation. Cristela Alonzo tweeted, “The erasure of Julian Castro on SNL last night and the constant confusion of the twins in news shows us the true problem of representation.” 

While I can’t say that I believe that the failure to include Castro in the skit was an accident, I’m also not sure if I believe it was purposefully done as an act of discrimination. This decision could have been made due to a number of reasons, such as Castro’s low polling. Regardless of the intent behind the decision, I don’t feel that it was the right decision. Even if it was not the intent, showed a lack of representation by not including the only Latino candidate. 

I understand the animosity among viewers towards SNL, as all of the candidates should have been included. In other words, this was not a smart move on the part of the producers of SNL, and every candidate should have been portrayed in the skit.