NBC is under even more fire this Thursday after they allegedly censored a part of Demi Lovato’s political message at last night’s Billboard Music Awards. The network is already facing pressure from dozens of Hollywood stars, including stars of their own shows, for hosting a Trump Town Hall tonight at the exact same time as ABC’s Joe Biden Town Hall.
Demi Lovato gave a dramatic performance of her all new protest song, “Commander in Chief” at last night’s Billboard Music Awards, but viewers at home weren’t able to see one part of the performance. According to reports, in the original version of the performance, Lovato ended the anti-Trump song with a huge “VOTE” message displayed behind her, but the broadcast version instead zoomed in on her face as the song ended, completely erasing the singer’s message for Americans to get to the polls.
After the telecast, TMZ published what it claimed was the original edit of Lovato’s pre filmed performance. In their version, a large backdrop with the simple message “VOTE” in huge letters lit up as the song ended. According to their story, “sources say the network pulled the plug on the ‘VOTE’ message because the song itself was a slam on Trump and the ‘VOTE’ message was a call to vote against him.”
Surprisingly, NBC’s own Twitter account tweeted out a picture of the performance in which you can clearly see the “VOTE” message brightly displayed behind Lovato, seemingly confirming the edit. Lovato retweeted the image.
“Commander in Chief” has strong messages for Trump, with Lovato singing “But you can’t get enough of / Shuttin’ down systems for personal gain / Fightin’ fires with flyers and prayin’ for rain / Do you get off on pain? / We’re not pawns in your game.” In the chorus Lovato sings “Do you even know the truth? / We’re in a state of crisis, people are dyin’ / While you line your pockets deep / Commander in Chief, how does it feel to still / Be able to breathe?”
After the awards show, Lovato released the music video for the track which featured different figures like Legendary's Gravity Balmain lip syncing to the song.
NBC has been firmly criticised by everyone from Rachel Maddow, to Hollywood icons like Aaron Sorkin, J.J. Abrams, Ryan Murphy, Greg Berlanti, Ava DuVernay, Billy Porter, and Julianne Moore. Even NBC’s own talent including Law & Order: SVU star Mariska Hargitay, the creator and entire main cast of This Is Us, and Shakina Nayfack, the star of their new quarantine comedy Connecting… have spoke out against the network for hosting the town hall. Originally, Trump and Biden were set to face off in a debate hosted by ABC, but after Trump refused a virtual debate format, the candidates scheduled competing town halls tonight instead. Many are saying that the dueling events are a ratings grab that will do more to divide voters than inform.
Other artists like Lizzo and Billie Eilish at the show sent pro-voting messages during their acceptance speeches and even on their clothes. They were not censored.
ABC will air its Biden Town Hall and NBC it’s Trump Town Hall both at 8pm ET tonight.