NBC fires Trump, drops pageants over candidate's insults to Mexicans

Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:35pm EDT
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(Reuters) - NBC cut ties with U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump and the "Miss USA" and "Miss Universe" pageants on Monday after the real estate developer and TV personality made comments insulting Mexicans earlier this month.

The pageants, part of a 50/50 joint venture with NBCUniversal for the English-language broadcasts that together have in the past year attracted 13 million viewers, would no longer air on NBC "due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants" the company said in a press statement.

The decision by Comcast Corp-owned NBC was announced four days after Spanish-language Univision [UVN.UL]said it would not air the Miss USA pageant on July 12 and severed ties to the Miss Universe Organization. Trump’s lawyer said the billionaire would sue.

Trump, in announcing on June 16 that he was seeking the Republican Party nomination for the November 2016 presidential election, described migrants from Mexico to the United States as drug-runners and rapists.

"They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists, and some I assume are good people," he said in opening his campaign at Trump Tower on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue.

Public outrage and pressure followed, then the decisions by Univision and NBC. Trump needs to find another partner to help fund and broadcast the shows or he must pick up all the costs himself and find another media company to broadcast them.

Trump had already said that while he was running for the White House he would not take part in "The Apprentice" reality TV show on NBC, in which he uses "You're Fired!" as his signature command to eliminate contestants.

NBC said sister show "Celebrity Apprentice" licensed from United Artists Media Group would continue.

The last season of Celebrity Apprentice averaged about 7.6 million viewers, according to Nielsen, which measures viewership.   Continued...

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives for a tour of the museum and birthplace of actor John Wayne while campaigning for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination in Winterset, Iowa June 27, 2015.    REUTERS/Brian Frank