NEW YORK/ WASHINGTON/ BENGALURU: NBC cut ties with US presidential candidate Donald Trump and the ‘Miss USA’ and ‘Miss Universe’ pageants on Monday after the real-estate developer and TV personality made insulting comments on Mexicans earlier this month.
The pageants, part of a 50/50 joint venture with NBCUniversal for the English-language broadcasts that have attracted 13 million viewers in the past year, would no longer air on NBC “due to the recent derogatory remarks 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 said it would not air the ‘Miss USA’ pageant on July 12 and severed ties to the Miss Universe Organisation.
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 and then the decisions by Univision and NBC. Trump needs to find another partner to help fund and broadcast the shows. 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 viewership-measurer Nielsen.
Trump said on Monday that he stood by his comments. “If NBC is so foolish to not understand the serious illegal immigration problem in the United States, coupled with unfair trade deals we are making with Mexico, then their contract violating closure of ‘Miss Universe’/‘Miss USA’ will be determined in court,” Trump’s statement said.
In the aftermath of Trump’s June 16 comments, Mexicans rich and poor, cabinet ministers and staunch critics of the government alike reacted furiously. When he spoke on Monday to a sold-out crowd of 350 people at the City Club in Chicago, a crowd of protesters, many of them Latinos, demonstrated outside, the Chicago media reported. “Trump is a racist,” they shouted.
Political analysts have said Trump, despite being one of America’s most recognisable figures, is considered a long shot for the Republican Party nomination. REUTERS
Published in The Express Tribune, July 1st, 2015.
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