NBC said Monday that it is ending its business relationship with mogul and GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump because of comments he made about Mexican immigrants during the announcement of his campaign. The network said it would no longer air the annual Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, which had been a joint venture between the company and Trump. Miss USA has aired on NBC since 2003, and this year's edition was set for July 12.
"At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values," NBC said in a statement. Trump's reply: a "weak" NBC should prepare to meet him in court.
Late Monday, Mexican media giant Televisa said it will no longer air the Miss Universe pageant and won't do business with Trump on any other communication project.
Televisa, one of the largest TV groups in the hemisphere, said in a statement that Trump's "disrespectful" remarks offended the entire Mexican population. The company said it "strongly rejects all forms of discrimination, racism and xenophobia."
NBC's action comes less than a week after Univision similarly decided to ditch Trump and the pageants. Trump has also been a fixture on NBC as host of "The Apprentice" and its celebrity offshoot, and an agreement that he would no longer be on the show predated the current controversy. The network said Monday that it and producer Mark Burnett are exploring ways to continue "Celebrity Apprentice" sans Trump. Trump said he anticipated losing the business relationship and that he's not apologizing for his statements because they "were correct."
"Whatever they want to do is OK with me," Trump told reporters in Chicago after a campaign speech before the City Club of Chicago, which is comprised of civic and community leaders. He said he'd consider suing, as he plans to do with Univision. He also took a shot at NBC's decision to demote, but not fire, news anchor Brian Williams for telling false stories about some of the reporting he was involved in. During his presidential kickoff speech, Trump said Mexican immigrants are "bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists and some, I assume, are good people." He called for building a wall along the southern border of the United States. Trump later said that his remarks were directed at U.S. policymakers, not the Mexican government or its people.
The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, a group of 39 Latino advocacy organizations, had called on NBC to get out of business with Trump. Similarly, a petition urging the same thing on the Change.org website had gathered more than 218,000 signatures.
In a sense, NBC's hand was forced by Univision's decision. NBC's parent company, NBC Universal, owns Telemundo, the chief competitor to Univision among Spanish-language networks in the United States. Telemundo lost the contract to air Miss USA and Miss Universe to Univision.