NBC’s Deborah Turness Angers Hispanic Lawmakers

By Mark Joyella 

In a meeting Wednesday intended to mend fences with Hispanic members of Congress after Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump‘s contested appearance on Saturday Night Live, NBC News president Deborah Turness used the word “illegals,” leaving some attendees “irate.”

Politico reports the meeting between executives at NBC and members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus–which had protested Trump’s appearance on SNL–derailed as Turness was trying to show the network’s commitment to diversity:

Turness was describing NBC’s integration with their Spanish-language network Telemundo, which included coverage of Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S. and his interaction with a young girl who was afraid her parents would be deported because they’re “illegals.”

“I’m going to stop you right there. We use the term undocumented immigrants,” Rep. Juan Vargas (D-Calif.) interrupted.

Turness apologized.

“She was saying how they’ve done all these great things and then boom, she said ‘illegals,'” Vargas told Politico, which reported that the meeting “only got worse” with Turness adding “we love the Hispanic community…Yo hablo Español,” which “did not go over well.”

An NBC spokesperson described the meeting as “an open and respectful dialogue about the progress that’s been made on diversity both in front of and behind the camera in the news division.”