NBC is ending its long relationship with Donald Trump in the wake of the presidential hopeful’s recent comments about Mexican immigrants.
NBC said it will no longer carry the Trump-produced Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants. Nor will he return to the long-running reality show “The Celebrity Apprentice” as host, a role Trump already said he would give up because of his presidential bid.
“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. “At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values.”
Trump told CNN that he was considering filing suit against NBC. He said in a statement that “NBC is weak, and like everybody else is trying to be politically correct” before saying that NBC will support disgraced journalist Brian Williams “but won’t stand behind people that tell it like it is, as unpleasant as that may be.”
“We must have strong borders and not let illegal immigrants enter the United States,” Trump said. “As has been stated continuously in the press, people are pouring across our borders unabated. Public reports routinely state great amounts of crime are being committed by illegal immigrants. This must be stopped and it must be stopped now. Long ago I told NBC that I would not being doing ‘The Apprentice’ because I am running for president in order to make our country great again.”
NBC’s move comes on the heels of a fight that broke out last week between Trump and Univision. The Spanish-language giant pulled the plug on its planned telecast of the Miss USA pageant after Trump’s statements earlier this month about Mexican immigrants. In the news conference announcing his bid for the GOP presidential nomination, Trump asserted that many immigrants coming across the border are “rapists” and bringing in drugs.
Late Monday, Mexican media giant Televisa also dumped Trump, saying it would no longer air the Miss Universe competition in Mexico or patronize any of Trump’s hotel and resort properties. “Mr. Trump has not shown understanding and respect for Mexican migrants and has offended the entire Mexican population,” Televisa said in a statement.
The most recent edition of “Celebrity Apprentice” aired on NBC in January and February of this year. The show began in 2004 as “The Apprentice,” a competition for aspiring moguls to win a shot at working for a Trump company. It yielded the catchphrase “You’re fired” and blazed hot for several seasons. But as ratings tailed off, the format shifted to focus on celebrity contestants. The last non-celeb “Apprentice” aired in early 2008.
NBC’s ties to Trump became increasingly problematic for the network in the past few years as the real estate developer took extreme positions on political issues and as he flirted with running for elected office. The outcry over the comments about immigrants and his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border to tighten security appears to have been the last straw.
Trump’s troubles with NBC and Univision also leave the Miss USA franchise in the lurch as far as TV coverage for the July 12 event. The Miss USA/Miss Universe pageants are a joint venture of Trump and NBC, which makes it unclear if Trump has the flexibility to shop the rights to other TV outlets. Given the uproar over Trump’s comments, it’s likely to be a tough sell at most mainstream broadcast and cable networks.
Univision pacted for Miss Universe in February, cutting what was believed to be a five-year deal with the Miss Universe Organization for Spanish-lingo TV and digital rights to the pageant. The special aired in 2014 on NBCU’s own Telemundo.
NBC bought half of the Miss Universe/Miss USA franchise from Trump in 2002 and has telecast the pageant ever since.