NBC is distancing itself from the views of Donald Trump. In a rare rebuke of a longtime content partner, NBC released this statement late Thursday: “Donald 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.”
The statement follows Univision announcing it was dropping Trump and NBC Universal’s co-produced Miss USA pageant due to the presidential candidate’s recent remarks. Yet NBC’s statement falls short of taking any action against Trump’s productions at the company.
In addition to co-owning the Miss Universe Organization, which produces the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, Trump and NBC Universal are partners on NBC’s long-running Celebrity Apprentice franchise. NBC renewed Apprentice earlier this year for a 15th season after the show enjoyed a ratings uptick this year, and Trump is expected to continue as executive producer and star of the program.
Because of equal-time FCC rules for presidential candidates, NBC previously said it would “re-evaluate” its relationship with Trump after he declared his White House run.
Trump recently caused quite a controversy when announcing his run for president and calling for a great wall to be built in order to stop illegal immigration from Mexico to the United States. “The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems. When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. 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.”
The comments prompted Univision, the largest Spanish-language broadcaster in the United States, to announce it will not air the Miss USA pageant, releasing this statement: “Today the entertainment division of Univision Communications Inc. announced that it is ending the Company’s business relationship with the Miss Universe Organization, which is part-owned by Donald J. Trump, based on his recent, insulting remarks about Mexican immigrants. 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. We will not be airing the Miss USA pageant on July 12 or working on any other projects tied to the Trump Organization.”
The co-hosts of the Miss USA Spanish-language simulcast—Devious Maids actress Roselyn Sanchez and actor Cristian De La Fuente—have dropped out, as well.
Trump has accused the media of taking his original comments out of context. “I am personally offended by the mainstream media’s attempt to distort my comments regarding Mexico and its great people,” he told reporters. “I have many successful business relationships with Mexican companies and employ, and am close friends with, many Mexican people … I do great with Latino voters. I employee so many Latinos, I have so many people working for me. The Latinos love Trump, and I Iove them.”
On Thursday, the TV personality defended himself on Twitter, and declared he’s going to sue Univision for breaking their contract. “Univision wants to back out of signed @MissUniverse contract because I exposed the terrible trade deals that the U.S. makes with Mexico” and “Mexican gov doesn’t want me talking about terrible border situation & horrible trade deals. Forcing Univision to get me to stop—no way!”