NBC Universal has finally had enough of Donald Trump.
The company is ending its business relationship with its controversial longtime content partner.
NBC will no longer air Trump’s beauty pageants, Miss USA and Miss Universe, and Trump will no longer host his Celebrity Apprentice reality series.
The move follows a week of mounting pressure from viewers over Trump’s recent comments regarding illegal immigration from Mexico, where he suggested that immigrants largely consist of criminals. A Change.org petition calling for NBC to sever its relationship with Trump was up to 200,000 signatures as of Sunday.
NBC Universal released this statement Monday:
“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. To that end, the annual Miss USA and Miss Universe Pageants, which are part of a joint venture between NBC and Trump, will no longer air on NBC. In addition, as Mr. Trump has already indicated, he will not be participating in The Celebrity Apprentice on NBC. Celebrity Apprentice is licensed from Mark Burnett’s United Artists Media Group and that relationship will continue.”
In declaring that Trump was actually the first to say he would not take part in Apprentice, NBC seems to be referring to a CNN interview that ran Sunday. Trump told Jack Tapper on State of the Union that the network “would love me to not be doing this. I gave up The Apprentice [when he decided to run for president] … I’m giving up a primetime television show, I’m giving that up to do this.”
NBC also confirmed that in saying “the relationship will continue” between NBC and Apprentice producer Brunett, that the broadcaster expects to move forward with its planned 15th season of its Apprentice franchise.
The controversy started when Trump announced his run for president and called 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, which Trump co-produces with NBC: “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—dropped out, as well.
Trump 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.”
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!”
NBC initially responded with a semi-scolding rebuke issued late last week, releasing this statement: “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.”
Yet since NBC did not take any concrete action against Trump’s programs, pressure continued to build for the network to shed Trump, whose ability to take part in NBC programming was likely compromised due to his presidential ambition anyway. Trump already wasn’t expected to appear in next month’s Miss USA pageant due to concerns about equal-time rules for presidential candidates. The petition cited actions taken against Paula Deen by The Food Network for using the N-word, and Phil Robertson by A&E for his anti-gay stance, with petitioner Guillermo Castaneda Jr. urging NBC to side for “ethics, principles and values” by dropping Trump – especially since it also owns Telemundo, the second largest Spanish-language network behind Univision.