An Open Letter to Saturday Night Live’s Second Presidential Debate Sketch

To Saturday Night Live-

Let me start off by saying I’m a big fan. I can’t remember when I started saying cheeseburger cheeseburger cheeseburger Pepsi no coke, and even though I was only twelve during the 2008 Presidential election, I watched your election coverage religiously. I knew another twelve year old who loved to imitate Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin, so much so that when running around fields and playing with him, you could hear him bellowing I CAN SEE RUSSIA FROM MY HOUSE as loud as he possibly could.

This year is no exception. Your political sketches have been incredible. Kate McKinnon and Alec Baldwin have been nailing it. The real proof of how great you guys are doing is in Donald Trump’s tweet about how unfunny you guys are. Donald Trump saying you’re terrible (or “nasty”, if you will) is generally a sign that you’re doing something right.

Which is why a certain joke in your Second Presidential Debate sketch disappointed me so much.

In the sketch, Baldwin’s Trump brings up Bill Clinton’s “mistresses” and how he brought them to the debate. McKinnon’s Hillary pretends to be horrified and grief-stricken until she says “get real, I’m made of steel, this is nothing. Hi girls!”

But here’s the thing- they’re not his “mistresses”.

These women are saying that they were sexually assaulted or harassed by Bill Clinton.

When you say “mistress”, you’re stating that the sex was consensual. You’re saying that both parties were willing to sleep with each other, and that’s what happened. But what these women are saying is not that both parties were willing. They’re saying Bill Clinton violated them.

In the sketch, Baldwin’s Trump goes on to say the women who are accusing him of sexual assault need to “shut the hell up”. It gets laughs, and normally I would be laughing too, except you can’t do that.

Listen. I absolutely loathe Donald Trump. I think he’s a racist, sexist pig. I think him becoming President would not only be a national embarrassment on the part of the American people, but would be a disaster for this country. I am not a Make America Great Again person, and nothing could make me become one.

However, these jokes raised the hairs on the back of my neck, because you cannot attempt to play both sides of the issue. You cannot ignore the allegations made by a group of women against the husband of one candidate and then bring up the allegations made against the other candidate. It displays favoritism, in an unpleasant manner.

One of the reasons I was so disappointed is because I know that you’re better than this. You have been so good with your points about this election. You have been relentless about both Trump’s many scandals and Hillary’s emails. You are so much better than that joke. You didn’t have to make it. But you did, and while it doesn’t exactly break my heart, it plummets my stomach in the saddest sort of way.


Kate Cipolla.


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