NBC Denies Andrew Yang’s Mic Was Cut Off at Democratic Debate

Entrepreneur-turned-candidate received less than 3 minutes of airtime

Last Updated: June 28, 2019 @ 12:15 PM

Presidential hopeful Andrew Yang said the reason you didn’t hear more from him during Thursday’s Democratic debate on MSNBC was because his microphone was cut off by the network unless he was called on — a claim NBC is pushing back on.

In a series of tweets on Friday, Yang said he was “very glad” to have participated, but felt “bad for those who tuned in to see and support me that I didn’t get more airtime. Will do better (my mic being off unless called on didn’t help) and glad to have another opportunity in July (and afterwards)!”

Yang’s tweets came after he told his fans on Thursday night he “quite literally felt somewhat, like, mechanically restricted” during the debate, according to Politico.

The network, in a statement to TheWrap, denied meddling with Yang’s audio.

“At no point during the debate was any candidate’s microphone turned off or muted,” an NBC spokesperson said.

The Silicon Valley entrepreneur-turned-presidential candidate spoke for only 2 minutes and 58 seconds during the debate — the least amount of all 20 candidates during the two-night event, according to The New York Times.

Yang’s lack of airtime didn’t go unnoticed by his passionate fans, with the hashtag #LetYangSpeak trending on Friday morning.

Yang has galvanized his followers — dubbed the “Yang Gang” — and separated himself from the other candidates by discussing the looming impact automation will have on American workers. Yang has prominently advocated for a universal basic income in response to workers losing their jobs to machines, and reiterated his plan on Thursday to give all Americans 18-64 $1,000 per month, which he calls “the Freedom Dividend.”

Yang tweeted the Democratic debate format was “not a natural one for me at all,” leaving little time for candidates to expand on their ideas. Yang said it “requires very specific behaviors that feel very forced.”

Tony Maglio contributed to this report.