Saturday Night Live (SNL) made national headlines this weekend, but not for its political satire. The late-night comedy show spoofed Safelite’s “Safelite Repair, Safelite Replace” television ads. The sketch closely followed Safelite’s existing ads by featuring a technician who replaced a woman’s windshield during her daughter’s sports game. The technician, played by actor Beck Bennett, then made a subsequent visit to perform another replacement for the same customer, at which time his behavior turned to what can only be described as “creepy.”
After silently gazing at the customer’s 17-year-old daughter (played by actress Melissa Villasenor) and commenting on her height, the technician then suggests that she’s, “… basically a full woman,” eliciting a stunned response from the mother (played by Aidy Bryant). On a third visit, the mother discovers that the Safelite technician was intentionally breaking her windshield. The technician then goes a step further by posting a romantic suggestion to the 17-year-old character, stating, “You don’t feel this? What’s happening between us?” followed by a subsequent attempt at the mother.
Following the skit’s airing, Safelite issued the following statement:
“While we appreciate good-natured humor, Saturday Night Live’s characterization of Safelite is not reflective of our people, quality of service, customer experience or values,” says Keriake Lucas, director of corporate communications for the Columbus, Ohio-based company. “We were not involved in the development of this skit and do not support its portrayal of our valued technicians or our brand.”
Safelite also responded to the show on Twitter, posting, “@nbcsnl thanks for the skit. Although we can take a joke, this one was a step too far. Our techs are our heroes. #notcool.” Several national news outlets have reported on Safelite’s reaction to the sketch.
A video posted May 21, 2017 on YouTube by a Florida-based Safelite customer, alleges that one of the company’s technicians was engaged in watching pornography from one of the company’s vans while out on a service call. The customer’s video also includes audio of a phone call in which they say the technician’s supervisor called him off of the project. Later, Jenny Cain, Safelite’s communication director, said that the company had found no wrongdoing on behalf of its associate. Whether the YouTube video had anything to do with prompting the development of SNL’s skit is not known. When we reached out to NBCUniversal, Lauren Roseman, vice president for NBC Entertainment Publicity says her company isn’t commenting. When asked about NBC’s policy for utilizing company logos and identities in SNL segments (the parody utilized a logo that appears to be a close match to Safelite’s), Roseman failed to respond to our inquiry.
When Peter L. Brown, president of Tiny and Son’s Glass Co., in Pembroke, Mass., says he spotted the customer-posted YouTube video alleging inappropriate actions by a Safelite technician in May, he met with his installers to reiterate the importance of monitoring their activities on the job site. “When you’re in that van, you don’t know who’s watching you, so you’ve got to always be professional—even if you’re stopping for lunch,” he says.
At the same time, he says that SNL’s parody went too far.
“They’re constantly perusing for ideas and Safelite was perfect, because their ads are on every channel,” Brown says. “But I feel for Safelite, because, if it was my company, I’d be saying the same thing, because that was way too far.”
Adding an element of “creepiness” to auto glass technicians, Brown says, isn’t good for the industry.
“If you have daughters and stuff, then you’re constantly worrying about these things,” Brown says. “And Safelite is trying to do the customer a service. It’s in the back of everybody’s mind. That’s why they want to know who you are when you come to show up. To spoof it like that? That doesn’t help SNL or Safelite.”
Meanwhile, SNL’s parody made its way onto YouTube, but the link found by glassBYTEs’ editors was later pulled down. When glassBYTEs reached out to Safelite, inquiring about whether or not the company had anything to do with that retraction, Safelite representatives failed to respond to our requests for comment.
A copy of the parody can be viewed via NBCUniversal’s website, at the following link:
The segment begins approximately 23 minutes into the program.