Donald Trump filed an amended lawsuit against Univision on Friday, continuing his claim that the media conglomerate made a “purposeful effort to coerce, collude and/or conspire” with NBC executives to drop the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants.
Univision and NBC Universal dropped the Miss Universe Pageant after Trump’s June 16 presidential campaign announcement. They cited comments that Trump made about Mexican immigrants.
Trump then sued Univision for breach of contract and defamation, among other claims. In September Trump bought NBC’s half of the Miss Universe Organization, and later sold assets to a group affiliated with William Morris Endeavor. Trump, however, retained the legal claim against Univision.
In the new complaint filed in U.S. District Court in New York, Trump claims that despite being obligated to broadcast the Miss Universe Pageant, at a minimum, “NBC capitulated to Univision’s threatened economic coercion and/or other improper and illegal tactics and means to terminate its relationship” with the Trump Organization.
The lawsuit claims that Univision’s intention in “causing” NBC was to ensure that the Miss Universe Organization would be prevented from having an English-language broadcaster. That was a condition of its agreement with Univision.
Trump’s claim contends that Univision had “the mistaken belief that the termination of the NBC agreement would reduce or extinguish Univision’s contractual obligations to pay license fees and other damages” to the Miss Universe Organization.
Univision had a license to air Miss Universe and Miss USA for a total $13.5 million fee from 2015 to 2019, according to Trump’s lawsuit.
The lawsuit also contends that Univision severed its ties even though Trump’s “calls for immigration reform, particularly with respect to the U.S.-Mexican border, were nothing new.”
Trump’s complaint cites a 2011 interview with Bill O’Reilly on Fox News in which he said that immigrants were “coming over, and they’re climbing over a fence, and there’s nobody within 10 miles — and they’re selling drugs all over the place, they’re killing people all over the place — and we’re not doing anything about it.”
But Trump’s complaint also notes that he cautioned that it was difficult to generalize and that “you’re going to have to look at all the individual people, see how they’ve done, see how productive they’ve been, see what their references are — and then make a decision.”
“Univision was aware of Mr. Trump’s stance on illegal immigration and the possibility that he might declare himself a candidate for the presidency well before January 2015 when it entered into the agreement for the pageants,” Trump’s complaint states.
The complaint cites the fact that Univision CEO Randy Falco previously worked at NBC for 30 years and was “well aware” of the Peacock’s contract with the Miss Universe Organization and Trump.
A spokesowman for Univision said they had no comment. The company has previously said that the lawsuit was “both factually false and legally ridiculous.” They have until Dec. 4 to file a response.
Trump’s comments about immigrants are the source of protest by Latino groups, who plan to rally outside NBC in New York on Saturday as Trump hosts “Saturday Night Live.”
News of the amended complaint was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.