Donald Trump may be up in the polls with his army of deranged acolytes, but his business empire is faltering.
On Thursday, Univision, the largest Spanish-language network in the United States, announced that it would not be airing Miss USA or “any other projects tied to the Trump Organization” because of offensive remarks Trump made against Mexican immigrants at his June 16 press conference.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” spewed The Donald. “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 bizarrely coiffed buffoon added: “It’s coming from more than Mexico. It’s coming from all over South and Latin America, and it’s coming probably—probably—from the Middle East. But we don’t know. Because we have no protection and we have no competence, we don’t know what’s happening. And it’s got to stop and it’s got to stop fast.”
Trump co-owns the Miss Universe Organization, which runs Miss USA in conjunction with NBC Universal.
This was going to be the first time Univision aired the Miss USA program. A whopping 5.5 million people tuned in to watch the Miss America pageant last year on NBC, and given the popularity of beauty pageants in Latin America, Univision’s broadcast would have no doubt garnered big ratings.
But executives at the company, which has cornered 80 percent of the Spanish-language TV market and brings in $3 billion in advertising per annum, felt that Trump’s comments were far too hateful toward their base.
“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,” read a company statement.
NBC, meanwhile, is said to be reevaluating its relationship with Trump's Miss USA pageant, releasing the following 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.”
Up-and-coming Colombian singer J Balvin was the first to pull out of the Miss USA pageant, announcing on Wednesday that he was canceling his performance because of Trump’s speech. “We’re talking about our roots, our culture, our values,” he told Billboard. “This isn’t about being punitive, but about showing leadership through social responsibility. His comments weren’t just about Mexicans, but about all Latins in general.”
It snowballed from there. Puerto Rican actress-singer Roselyn Sánchez and Cristián de la Fuente of Chile, co-stars of the Lifetime show Devious Maids who were set to host the Univision broadcast of Miss USA, both announced on Thursday via social media that they were also pulling out of the pageant. De la Fuente said in a video he posted on Facebook, “It is unacceptable to launch a presidential candidacy created in a discourse of hatred and discrimination in calling Mexicans drug dealers and rapists.” He shook his head. “It is a shame that such an important institution as Miss USA is in the hands of a clown.”
Trump’s response to all of this has been—quite predictably—ridiculous. On Twitter, he claimed to “love” the Mexican people, but objected to the “unfair trade deals that the US so stupidly makes with them.”
He told Fox News on Thursday morning that he was going to have to sue Univision for backing out of the five-year agreement that was made back in January, which he says is worth $15 million. Trump claimed that the company had called him that morning to apologize. “They want me to stop telling the facts,” he said.
As part of his June 16 speech, Trump said Mexico is “sending us not the right people,” but it’s hard to think of anyone less “right” than Nia Sanchez, the current Miss USA, who also happens to be a quarter-Mexican.
Sanchez would not return multiple requests for comment, but she has stated many times how proud she is of her heritage. On her bio page for Miss Universe, she is quoted as saying, “America is a melting pot, with so much diversity and culture! I, myself, have both Mexican and German heritage, and I feel so lucky to be able to share that with others as Miss USA. As Americans, we have a variety of cultures; that’s what makes life so rich here!”
Sanchez was embroiled in a little immigration scandal of her own last year when some suspected she’d moved to Nevada—where she’d lived for just six months—to ensure less competition for the Miss USA crown than she would have in her home state of California, where she’d competed in years’ past. Perhaps that’s the immigration “problem” Trump was talking about: all these beauty queens flooding in and stealing jobs.
In addition to Miss USA Sanchez, five out of the last seven winners of the Miss Universe Pageant have been Hispanic, including last year’s winner, Paulina Vega of Colombia.
“Mexicans, they’re known as hard workers,” said J Balvin, who kicked off the backlash. “Here in the U.S., not everybody wants to do those kinds of jobs. I’ve lived. I know what it feels like and what they go through and how families suffer. A comment like that is powerful.”