NEW YORK — NBCUniversal, succumbing to pressure from an array of Hispanic groups, is severing its business ties to presidential candidate Donald Trump. The Miss USA pageant, scheduled for July 12, will no longer air on NBC. Miss USA and Miss Universe were, until now, jointly owned by NBC and Trump.
“At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values,” the company said in a statement. “Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump.”
Monday’s announcement follows a similar move by Univision, the Spanish-language broadcaster, last week. Univision decided it would not air Miss USA in the wake of his racially-tinged comments about Mexican immigrants. Over the weekend a large number of Hispanic advocacy organizations urged NBC to do the same thing. The call for NBCUniversal to sever its business relationship with Trump is now coming from inside the building.
On Monday the National Association of Hispanic Journalists added its name to a growing list of Hispanic groups that are applying pressure to NBC. The association is led by Mekahlo Medina, a reporter for NBC’s local station in southern California.
Additionally, more than 215,000 people have signed a Change.org petition calling for a break-up.
The petition, created by Guillermo Castañeda Jr., calls for the Peacock network to end the pageant airings due to comments Trump made during his presidential announcement two weeks ago.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best… They’re sending people who have lots of problems,” Trump said in the speech. “They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists, and some I assume are good people.”
These comments caused a firestorm, leading Univision to dump its telecast of the Miss USA pageant in protest.
Trump partially owns the Miss USA and Miss Universe events. He is also the face of NBC’s “The Apprentice.” Following his Presidential announcement, NBC said it would “re-evaluate” Trump’s role on the reality show. In his petition, Castañeda Jr. asked NBC to follow Univision’s lead.
“Please cancel Miss USA, Miss Universe and the Apprentice. You are supporting a hateful and narcissistic individual without any kind of values, both personal and business wise,” Castañeda Jr. wrote. “Mr. Trump does not need to apologize anymore, which he will not according to his remarks after being dumped by Univision. He needs to be shown that his behavior belongs in the past before the civil rights movement.”
NBC responded Thursday with a statement saying that Trump’s opinions “do not represent those of NBC, and we do not agree with his positions on a number of issues, including his recent comments on immigration.”
However, that position did not satisfy Castañeda Jr.
“You did not cancel Miss USA, The Apprentice or even made reference to his hateful and divisive remarks,” he wrote. “Not only that, but the only reason why you would not have him as head of The Apprentice would be because of his political aspirations, not because of his incendiary remarks in a country where violence against minorities and racism are still around daily.”