First it was Univision. The powerful Spanish-language broadcaster last week announced that it was breaking up with the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, which are enterprises partially owned by real estate mogul Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. The trigger for Univision’s move was Trump’s comments about Mexicans who come into the United States. Those people, said Trump at his campaign kickoff earlier this month, are “bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists, and some, I assume, are good people.”
Now it’s NBCUniversal. “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.” That means, in essence, that the July 12 Miss USA pageant won’t air on NBC, along with future Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants. The decision by NBCU is big for TrumpWorld not just for losing the TV slot, but also because the pageants are a joint venture with between Trump and NBCU.
The news is testament to old-fashioned pressure. Hispanic leaders praised Univision for ending its relationship with Trump’s pageants — prompting a threat by Trump to sue — and pushed NBC to do likewise. On Sunday, Felix Sanchez, chairman and co-founder of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, said, “Univision Communications’ courageous action to sever ties with both the Miss USA and Miss Universe Pageants — which are partly owned by Donald Trump — is civil rights leadership in the digital age. We implore NBCU to follow Univision’s lead and take a similar stance and sever their financial relationship with Mr. Trump, in light of the bigoted way he has denigrated Mexicans and Mexican-Americans.”
The decisionmaking landscape for Univision and NBCU perhaps would have been more contoured if Trump had apologized for his patently offensive remarks about Mexicans. But he’s Trump, however: “I know the speech went well. There’s nothing in there I didn’t mean,” Trump told The Associated Press after immigrant groups and Mexico Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong blasted Trump. NBC issued a statement last week on the controversy: “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.”
Trump has already declared that he won’t be participating in “The Apprentice,” a decision that NBCU referenced in its statement today. “Celebrity Apprentice,” it noted, is a different deal — it’s licensed from Mark Burnett’s United Artists Media Group, and “that relationship will continue,” noted the company.
Next step? Pundits saying that the NBC decision is a “distraction” for the Trump campaign, as if the entire campaign isn’t precisely one giant distraction.