Speed Reads

2020 Democratic debates

Andrew Yang and NBC are now arguing over whether his mic was off during the Democratic debate

NBC is denying 2020 Democrat Andrew Yang's claim that he wasn't able to speak for much of Thursday's Democratic debate because his microphone was turned off.

Yang, who spoke only briefly during the second round of debates, tweeted on Friday morning that "I feel bad for those who tuned in to see and support me that I didn't get more airtime," promising he "will do better" next time and that "my mic being off unless called on didn’t help."

This wasn't Yang's first time accusing NBC of shutting his mic off, as directly after the debate, he told supporters, "There were also a few times, FYI, where I just started talking, being like, 'Hey, I'd like to add something there,' and my mic was not on," Yang said, Politico reports. "It's not like if you start talking it all of a sudden takes over the convo. It's like I was talking and nothing was happening." He also said that he "felt somewhat, like, mechanically restricted."

This statement from Yang was surprising considering numerous candidates during the debate did begin speaking and interrupting one another when not called on. On Friday, NBC pushed back on Yang's claim, with a spokesperson for the network telling The Washington Post, "At no point during the debate was any candidate's microphone turned off or muted." The network was, however, faced with some audio glitches during the debates, having to take a break on Wednesday when the previous moderators' microphones were left on.

Yang's supporters seized on his statement on Friday using the Twitter hashtag #LetYangSpeak, which Yang approved of, writing, "Haha #LetYangSpeak indeed. You all are the best." He also dissed NBC by expressing relief that July's debate will be hosted elsewhere, writing, "I'm glad that the network switches and we get different moderators each time."