Ultraviolet to CNN: “Fire CEO Chris Licht,” Says Town Hall Handed Donald Trump Platform to Spread Lies & Disinformation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, May 11, 2023

CONTACT: Anna Zuccaro | anna@unbendablemedia.com

Ultraviolet to CNN: “Fire CEO Chris Licht,” Says Town Hall Handed Donald Trump Platform to Spread Lies & Disinformation

Gender equity advocacy group lambasts CNN for catastrophic results of Trump town hall, urges network to fire CEO Chris Licht

WASHINGTON, DC — Last night, CNN broadcast a town hall event from St. Anselm College in Goffstown, New Hampshire. Over the past twelve hours, the network has been subject to intense public scrutiny after Trump continuously parroted conspiracy theories and lies about the 2020 presidential election.

In light of the results, Shaunna Thomas, executive director of UltraViolet, a leading national gender equity advocacy group that called on CNN to cancel the event immediately upon its announcement, issued the following statement:

“CNN’s town hall was a disaster. CNN knew Donald Trump would lie about the 2020 election and make reckless and untrue claims about everything from January 6th to abortion. He even mocked E. Jean Carroll the day after a federal court convicted him of defamation and sexual assault against her. CNN not only allowed Trump to do so — they enabled him.

“The network must take accountability by firing CEO Chris Licht who knowingly broadcasted lies and conspiracies on national television.

“CNN had every opportunity to implement a one-minute delay and fact-check all of Trump’s lies in real-time, but they refused. The network flagrantly compromised its journalistic integrity for ratings and viewership. Shame on them.

“That’s why we’re calling on CNN to fire CEO Chris Licht. Licht stacked the deck in Trump’s favor in a desperate attempt to seize ratings. Chris Licht may be in cahoots with Trump, or simply not up to the task of leading a credible national news network.

“Moderator Kaitlin Collins did her best given the circumstances. We recognize what an impossibly challenging situation she was in and that Collins confronted and checked Trump as much as possible. Unfortunately, the network set her up for failure, exposed Collins to a direct line of hate and harassment from Trump fans, and made a mockery of itself in the process.

“Unless something significant changes, Donald Trump will be the 2024 Republican presidential candidate. We need to figure out how the free press can safeguard our democracy with an unrepentant demagogue on the ballot. As evidenced by last night’s embarrassing display, CNN appears unphased about the damage last night it has already caused.

“If the network has any ethics left, they’ll fire Chris Licht immediately.”

UltraViolet has long taken issue with CNN’s platforming of disinformation and promoting misogynists. In February, UltraViolet urged CNN to suspend Don Lemon after Lemon’s misogynistic on-air comments about women in their “prime.” The network fired Lemon last week. In 2021, UltraViolet called for the immediate suspension of Chris Cuomo at CNN for advising his brother on how to defeat sexual abuse charges.

Over the past week, UltraViolet has publicly urged CNN to cancel tonight’s town hall. Yesterday, the group commissioned two mobile billboards in Manchester, NH, and Atlanta, GA, to amplify their calls for CNN to cancel the event.

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