'TRL' would 'love' to have Trump on the show

MTV’s reboot of music video countdown show Total Request Live kicks off next week. Today, showrunner Albert Lewitinn gave an interview to The Fader that revealed the politically agnostic direction the new show will take. In response to a question about whether TRL was “prepared” for Donald Trump to watch the show, and if they would welcome the president on, Lewitinn replied: “I would love both. He’s welcome to hashtag us at @ TRL. He’s the president of the United States. Of course we would welcome him on. He’s the president of the United States.”

Lewitinn was also asked if TRL would welcome artists accused of domestic abuse, such as XXXTentacion or Kodak Black. “I’m not sure I want to answer that question,” he said. “We want to be on what pop culture wants. When it comes to something like that, it’s something that we would have to look into. It’s a tough question to ask, I can’t answer that question until something like that happens.” Asked if XXXTentacion could potentially appear with Noah Cyrus on Tuesday’s episode of TRL, when Cyrus is set to appear (potentially to promote their new single “Again”), he was cagier: “Can’t tell you that part. Surprise, surprise.”

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Looking back at 'TRL' in its glory days
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Looking back at 'TRL' in its glory days
Carson Daly onstage with Destiny's Child, whose album 'Survivor' was released today, during Hip Hop Week on MTV's TRL, a special week of hip hop music on TRL at the MTV studios in New York City. 5/1/01. Photo by Scott Gries/ImageDirect.
Carson Daly with Lil Kim, who is promoting her latest album 'Notorious K.l.M.' at MTV's TRL studio in New York City. 6/27/00 Photo by Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect
TRL Tour performers Destiny's Child, Dream, 3LW, Jessica Simpson, and Eve with Carson Daly on MTV's TRL at the MTV Studios in New York City, 7/12/01. Photo by Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect.
Jennifer Lopez and Carson Daly during TRL at the MTV Studios in New York City. 5/22/02 Photo by Scott Gries/ImageDirect
Marilyn Manson and Carson Daly at the MTV studios in New York during an episode of TRL during 'Spankin New Music Week'. 11/15/00 Photo: Scott Gries/ImageDirect
Shakira and Carson Daly during MTV's Spankin' New Music Week on TRL at the MTV studios in New York City. 11/9/01 Photo by Scott Gries/ImageDirect
Kid Rock and Carson Daly during MTV's Spankin' New Music Week on TRL at the MTV studios in New York City. 11/9/01 Photo by Scott Gries/ImageDirect
Britney Spears & Carson Daly (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)
Paul McCartney, Carson Daly, and NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)
Mary J Blige made a live appearance on TRL with Carson Daly at the MTV studios in New York City. Her new album, 'No More Drama' was released today. 8/28/01 Photo by Scott Gries/ImageDirect
Carson Daly and Tiger Woods during Tiger Woods Promotes 'EA Sports Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2002' Video Game on MTV's 'TRL' - March 4, 2002 at MTV Times Square Studios in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)
Carson Daly, Shane West, Mandy Moore during Mandy Moore and Shane West Promote 'A Walk to Remember' at MTV's TRL in New York, New York, United States. (Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/FilmMagic)
Carson Daly with Tom Cruise on MTV's TRL to promote his new movie 'Vanilla Sky' at the MTV studios in New York City. 12/3/01 Photo by Scott Gries/ImageDirect ***Exclusive***
(l to r) Selma Blair, Carson Daly, Cameron Diaz, and Christina Applegate during their appearance on TRL at the MTV Studios in New York City. 4/11/02 Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images
Carson Daly, Mike Myers and Beyonce Knowles during Mike Myers and Beyonce Knowles Visit MTV's 'TRL' to promote 'Austin Powers in Goldmember' - July 26, 2002 at MTV Studios- Times Square in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage)
Gwen Stefani of No Doubt with Carson Daly during the TRL 1000th episode celebration at the MTV Studios in Times Square, New York City. 10/23/02 Photo by Scott Gries/ImageDirect
(EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Carson Daly and Jennifer Lopez during Jennifer Lopez Visits MTV's 'TRL' - November 26, 2002 at MTV Studios in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)
T-Boz and Chili of TLC with Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes sister, Raindrop Lopes on MTV Spankin New Music Week of TRL at the MTV Times Square Studios in New York City, November 6, 2002. Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images.
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 17: (TABS OUT) Britney Spears and Carson Daly co-host the first MTV 'TRL Awards' at the MTV Times Square Studios February 6, 2003 in New York City. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images)
Fans of MTV's Total Request Live, stand outside of the MTV Studios in New York City's Times Square on January, 26, 2000. (photo by Todd Plitt)
MTV host Carson Daly with Madonna on MTV 'Total Request Live' at MTV's Time Square studios 3/1/00. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect)
N'SYNC on MTV Total Request Live in MTV's Times Square studios in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/ImageDirect)
NEW YORK - APRIL 1: (U.S. TABS OUT) Actor Colin Farrell appears on MTV's Total Request Live April 1, 2003 at the MTV Times Square Studios in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - APRIL 3: (U.S. TABS OUT) MTV VJ La La (L) talks with comedian Chris Rock during his appearance on MTV's Total Request Live at the MTV Times Square Studios April 3, 2003 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MAY 2: (U.S. TABS OUT) Singer Jewel (R) and VJ Hilarie Burton appear on MTV's Total Request Live May 2, 2003 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - APRIL 8: (U.S. TABS OUT) Lisa Marie Presley appears on MTV's Total Request Live with VJ's Damien Fahey (L) and Quddus (C) at the MTV Times Square Studios April 8, 2003 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JUNE 18: (U.S. TABS OUT) LeBron James (C) appears on stage during MTV's Total Request Live June 18, 2003 at the MTV Times Square Studios in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JUNE 18: (U.S. TABS OUT) Bow Wow and VJ La La on stage during MTV's Total Request Live June 18, 2003 at the MTV Times Square Studios in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JUNE 26: (U.S. TABS OUT) (l to r) Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu sing on stage during MTV's Total Request Live June 26, 2003 at the MTV Times Square Studios in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - AUGUST 7: MTV Host Damien interviews actress Brittany Murphy during her appearance on MTV's Total Request Live at MTV Studios August 7, 2003 in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - AUGUST 13: (U.S. TABS OUT) Actor Jackie Chan appears on stage during MTV's Total Request Live at the MTV Times Square Studios August 13, 2003 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - AUGUST 27: (U.S. TABS OUT) Singer/actress Hilary Duff appears on stage during MTV's Total Request Live at the MTV Times Square Studios August 27, 2003 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 29: (U.S. TABS OUT) (l to r) The Cast of 'OC'- Adam Brody, Mischa Barton and Benjamin McKenzie appear on stage during MTV's Total Request Live at the MTV Times Square Studios October 29, 2003 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 22: (U.S. TABS OUT) Britney Spears appears on stage during MTV's Total Request Live at the MTV Times Square Studios October 22, 2003 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 10: (U.S. TABS OUT) Britney Spears performs on stage during 'Spankin' New Music Week' on MTV's Total Request Live outside at the MTV Times Square Studios November 10, 2003 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 15: (U.S. TABS OUT) Actor Ben Affleck appears on stage during MTV's Total Request Live at the MTV Times Square Studios December 15, 2003 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 8: (U.S. TABS OUT) Actress Eva Mendes appears on stage during MTV's Total Request Live on December 8, 2003 at the MTV Times Square Studios, in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JANUARY 14: (U.S. TABS OUT) Musician Dave Navarro with wife Carmen Electra appear onstage during 'TRL BreakOut Stars Week' on MTV's Total Request Live on January 14, 2004 at the MTV Times Square Studios, in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MARCH 5: (U.S. TABS OUT) Ben Stiller (far right) and Owen Wilson appear on stage with VJ Hilarie Burton during MTV's Total Request Live on March 5, 2004 at the MTV Times Square Studios, in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MARCH 1: (U.S. TABS OUT) Singer Jessica Simpson appears on stage with VJ Damien Fahey during MTV's Total Request Live at the MTV Times Square Studios March 1, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MARCH 17: (U.S. TABS OUT) Donald Trump appears on stage during MTV's Total Request Live at the MTV Times Square Studios March 17, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MARCH 12: (TABLOIDS OUT) Actor Elijah Wood makes an appearance on MTV's Total Request Live on March 12, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Peter Kramer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - APRIL 6: ( U.S. TABS OUT) Actress Anne Hathaway appears on stage during MTV's High School Week on Total Request Live at the MTV Times Square Studios April 6, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - APRIL 6: (U.S. TABS OUT) Nick Lachey appears on stage during MTV's High School Week on Total Request Live at the MTV Times Square Studios April 6, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MAY 4: (U.S. TABS OUT) Actor Adam Brody (C) appears on stage during MTV's Total Request Live at the MTV Times Square Studios May 4, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - APRIL 23: (U.S. TABS OUT) Actress Lindsay Lohan appears on stage during MTV's Total Request Live at the MTV Times Square Studios April 23, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JUNE 15: (U.S. TABS OUT) Socialite/actress Paris Hilton (R) and VJ Vanessa Minnillo pose for a photo backstage during MTV's Total Request Live at the MTV Times Square Studios June 15, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MAY 27: (U.S. TABS OUT) Mandy Moore appears on stage with VJ Damien Fahey during MTV's Total Request Live at the MTV Times Square Studios May 27, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MAY 25: (U.S. TABS OUT) Avril Lavigne appears on stage during MTV's Total Request Live at the MTV Times Square Studios May 25, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JULY 7: (U.S. TABS OUT) Tennis star Maria Sharapova plays table tennis with host Damien Fahey on stage during MTV's Total Request Live at the MTV Times Square Studios July 7, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - DECEMBER 10: (U.S. TABS OUT) Singer Gwen Stefani and her dancers appear on stage with MTV VJ Damien Fahey during MTV's Total Request Live at the MTV Times Square Studios December 10, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MARCH 2: (U.S. TABLOIDS OUT) (L-R) Singer Christina Milian and actor The Rock make an Appearance on MTV's Total Request Live on March 2, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Peter Kramer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MARCH 22: (U.S. TABLOIDS OUT) MTV VJ Damien Fahey and singer Gwen Stefani makes an appearance on MTV 's Total Request Live on March 22, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - APRIL 6: (U.S. TABLOIDS OUT) From 'Meet The Barkers' Shanna Moakler and Travis Barker make an appearance on MTV's Total Request Live on April 6, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Peter Kramer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - APRIL 6: (U.S. TABLOIDS OUT) Actor Matthew McConaughey makes an appearance on MTV's Total Request Live on April 6, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Peter Kramer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - APRIL 5: (U.S. TABLOIDS OUT) Actors Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon make an appearance on MTV's Total Request Live on April 5, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 18: (U.S. TABLOIDS OUT) Singer Ashlee Simpson (R) appears on MTV's Total Request Live with MTV VJ Carson Daly at MTV Times Square Studios November 18, 2004 in New York City (Photo by Peter Kramer/Getty Images)
(L-R) No Doubt bassist Tony Kanal, musician Stephen Bradley, singer Gwen Stefani, guitarist Tom Dumont, MTV host Carson Daly, musician Gabrial McNair and drummer Adrian Young appear on MTV's 'Total Request Live' Spring Break show at the Fremont Street Experience March 11, 2000 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MARCH 27: (U.S. TABS OUT) Host Carson Daly (L) and brother and sister Kellin Manning (R) and Taryn Manning of the music group Boomkat appear on MTV's Total Request Live March 27, 2003 at the MTV studios in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
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In one sense, this commitment to centrism is entirely predictable. Lewitinn is a television producer, which means he lives entirely according to what will attract viewers to his channel; if market research showed that what MTV viewers wanted most was a never-ending loop of the “Hi Bich” video, then “Hi Bich” is what we’d get. But set against the context of MTV’s attempts to be “woke”—something Lewitinn acknowledges in the interview, which he says “goes back to the idea of us being a youth culture show”—these answers feel pointedly hypocritical. It was only last month that MTV brought Susan Bro, the mother of slain Charlottesville activist Heather Heyer, onto the VMAs to present the award for “Best Fight Against the System,” an absurd category that nonetheless produced a memorable moment of television when Bro and a descendant of shamed Confederate general Robert E. Lee spoke forcefully against racism.

Now, Lewitinn is openly advocating for the man who defended Heyer’s killers to come on TRL—and not only that, for him to hashtag the show when talking about it on Twitter. What could render Bro’s appearance more hollow? The “wait and see” approach to artists like XXXTentacion is similarly craven. It wouldn’t be difficult for the showrunner behind a flagship program at a supposedly woke network say, firmly, that they won’t invite on any artists who stand accused of abusing women. Instead, it’ll be a “surprise” to see if an alleged abuser pops up on one of the inaugural episodes, reducing a very real question—how should we address popular artists who are also accused of terrible crimes?—into a type of ratings stunt. It was always absurd to expect a television network to be a leading advocate for social justice, but to see the game laid out so nakedly is particularly eye-raising.

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This article originally appeared in Spin.

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