Shakina Nayfack has been bringing NBC a lot of positive attention lately, being the first trans actor to star in a network comedy on the new show Connecting… But now the comedian and actor is speaking out against her employers for hosting a Trump Town Hall that will be slotted at exactly the same time as Joe Biden’s ABC Town Hall.
“Shame on you @NBC,” Nayfack tweeted this morning, “y’all sign my checks as of late but I’m disgusted by my home network giving Trump a platform for fear mongering, bigotry & disinformation.” She continued, telling the network, “don’t praise yourselves for putting a trans woman on primetime then give a platform to someone who wants to abolish my rights.” In a followup tweet, she said that “these days leading up to the election should be about the exchange and comparison of ideas and policy, not ratings and stoking division.”
When reached for comment, Nayfack telsl Out that the tweets aren’t about her personal feelings.
“It’s about a network using me and my castmates to claim diversity and inclusion, and then taking radically divisive action by offering a platform to xenophobia, bigotry, and disinformation,” she writes. “The fact that they are hosting this town hall at the same time as Biden’s on ABC is a shameful grab at ratings and advertising dollars.
“I don’t know how it is for other people on the network,” Nayfack continues, “but my life and well-being are literally on the line in this election. The Trump administration has made it clear that they [mean] to legislate trans people out of existence, or at least out of public life, education, sports, and health care.”
Trump has been one of the most dangerous presidents for LGBTQ+ Americans. His administration and Republican government under him haved worked hard to allow religious bigots to refuse to LGBTQ+ people access to adoption, business, housing, and healthcare. They’ve threatened to take away Title IX funding from schools who allow trans students to play sports. They’re now threatening to overturn same-sex marriage in the Supreme Court. They've banned trans folks from serving in the military. And more than that, Trump has stoked the fires of violent white supremacy and bigotry across the country and world.
Originally, there was a Presidential Debate scheduled for this Thursday, but after Trump contracted the virus at the center of the global pandemic, Biden asked for a virtual debate and Trump refused. Instead, ABC decided to host a Biden town hall. Then today, NBC announced it would host a competing town hall for Trump at the exact same time.
Nayfack has a strong message for Connecting… fans. “If you want to support trans people, boycott the town hall and tune in for Connecting after," she says, "show the network that the world you want to see is diverse, caring, and joyful.”
The second episode of Conneting… will premiere on NBC Thursday night after the town hall.