NBC announced Monday it is severing ties with billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump over his remarks about Mexican immigrants during a campaign speech last week.
In a statement released Monday, NBC said it would no longer go through with plans to air the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, which the network’s parent company NBCUniversal co-owns with Trump.
“At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values. Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump,” NBC said in a statement on Monday.
NBC’s decision to sever ties with Trump comes several days after Univision, the most-watched over-the-air network in America, announced it too would no longer broadcast the Miss USA pageant. Univision had planned to carry a Spanish-language simulcast of the pageant on a companion channel, UniMas, next month.
“At Univision, we see first-hand the work ethic, love for family, strong religious values and the important role Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans have had and will continue to have in building the future of our country,” Univision said in a statement last week.
Trump, who during a campaign speech accused Mexican citizens of “bringing drugs” and “crime” into the United States, told ABC News that his comments had been misconstrued in the week that followed his remarks.
“I didn’t say it about Mexico,” Trump said. “I said people from all over.”
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
On Friday, Trump sent a letter to Univision’s chief executive chastising him for the network’s decision to pull out of the Miss USA simulcast. In the letter, Trump also banned Univision employees from visiting his Miami-based Trump National Doral resort, which neighbors some land owned by the television network.
In a post-script of the letter, Trump asked Univision’s Randy Falco to “please congratulate your Mexican Government officials for having made such outstanding trade deals with the United States,” but threatened that those trade deals would be “over” if he were to be elected president.
Univision is headquartered in the United States, not in Mexico.
On Sunday, Trump tweeted that he would be “suing” Univision for “a lot of money” following the network’s refusal to air the pageant. “Miss USA contestants are hurt!” he claimed.
It was speculated that the pageant would move to either Telemundo, a channel owned by NBC that competes with Univision, or NBC’s new bilingual cable channel NBCUniverso. But the announcement on Monday means the pageants are essentially television’s equivalent of a free agent, and the controversy surrounding Trump might make it hard to land another broadcaster before the pageant is scheduled to air in two weeks.
Trump also stars and co-produces the reality shows “The Apprentice” and “Celebrity Apprentice,” both of which air on NBC and in re-runs on CNBC. NBC said on Monday that Trump would not be participating in “The Apprentice” and that the “Celebrity Apprentice” would continue without him.