Univi­sion drop­ping Miss USA pageant over Trump com­ments

The China Post - - ARTS - BY FRA­ZIER MOORE

A Univi­sion net­work is drop­ping the Miss USA pageant and the com­pany says it will cut all busi­ness ties with Don­ald Trump in a spi­ral­ing con­tro­versy over com­ments the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date made re­cently about Mex­i­can im­mi­grants.

Univi­sion said Thurs­day it would pull the plug on its Span­ish­language cov­er­age of the pageant July 12 by its UniMas net­work. It also has sev­ered its busi­ness re­la­tion­ship with the Miss Uni­verse Or­ga­ni­za­tion, which pro­duces the Miss USA pageant, due to what it called “in­sult­ing re­marks about Mex­i­can im­mi­grants” by Trump, a part owner of Miss Uni­verse.

Dur­ing his pres­i­den­tial cam­paign kick­off speech last week, Trump por­trayed im­mi­grants from Mexico as “bring­ing drugs, they’re bring­ing crime, they’re rapists, and some, I as­sume, are good peo­ple.” He also called for build­ing a wall along the south­ern bor­der of the U.S. The re­marks drew con­dem­na­tion from the Mex­i­can gov­ern­ment as “bi­ased and ab­surd.”

NBC is sched­uled to air its own pageant cov­er­age, as it has done since 2003, and has re­mained silent about the broad­cast. But in a state­ment Thurs­day, the net­work sought to sep­a­rate it­self from Trump’s re­marks.

“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,” NBC said.

Trump is part of another NBC pro­gram, “Celebrity Ap­pren­tice.”

In an in­ter­view Thurs­day, Trump said his crit­i­cism was di­rected against U.S. pol­i­cy­mak­ers, not the Mex­i­can peo­ple or gov­ern­ment, adding that Univi­sion would be de­fault­ing on its con­tract if it doesn’t air the pageant and he would take le­gal ac­tion.

“At Univi­sion, we see first­hand the work ethic, love for fam­ily, strong re­li­gious val­ues and the im­por­tant role Mex­i­can im­mi­grants and Mex­i­can-Amer­i­cans have had and will con­tinue to have in build­ing the fu­ture of our coun­try,” said the New York-based Univi­sion Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Inc.

Both co-hosts of the UniMas tele­cast also pulled out Thurs­day, while Colom­bian singer J Balvin on Wed­nes­day can­celed a planned per­for­mance at the pageant.

“The only thing I could do as a per­son, not only as an artist, but as a Latino that I am, was to can­cel my show im­me­di­ately,” he told The As­so­ci­ated Press on Thurs­day.

‘Got to be a joke’

Trump said Univi­sion is sub­mit­ting to pres­sure from Mex­i­can lead­ers to pun­ish him for po­si­tions he voices as a can­di­date on the cam­paign trail.

“They don’t want me say­ing that Mexico is killing the United States in trade and killing the United States at the bor­der,” Trump said. “Univi­sion is to­tally lay­ing down for the Mex­i­can gov­ern­ment. ... They want to si­lence Don­ald Trump. And Don­ald Trump can’t be si­lenced. ... I have great re­spect for Mexico and I love the Mex­i­can peo­ple, but my loy­alty is to the United States.”

Univi­sion de­clined to com­ment on Trump’s re­marks. The com­pany also has the rights to air the Miss Uni­verse pageant.

In an in­ter­view sched­uled to air Sun­day on Tele­mu­ndo’s “En­foque con Jose Diaz-Balart,” Trump said “many bad peo­ple are com­ing in” from Mexico and else­where.

“You’re go­ing to have ter­ror­ists com­ing through the south­ern bor­der. There’s no ques­tion about it,” he said.

The host chal­lenged Trump, con­tend­ing there has been no act of ter­ror­ism com­mit­ted by some­one cross­ing the U.S.-Mexico bor­der.

“You don’t know that,” Trump replied, adding later: “See what hap­pens to­mor­row. See what hap­pens in two weeks from now. You can’t say that ter­ror­ists, and I’m not even talk­ing about ter­ror­ists from this re­gion. I’m talk­ing about from the Mid­dle East they can come in. The bor­der is to­tally open.”

In sev­er­ing her ties with the Miss USA pageant, Puerto Ri­can ac­tress Rose­lyn Sanchez, one of the two co-hosts, cited Trump’s com­ments about im­mi­grants.

“Since I heard Trump’s speech, as a Latina I felt a lump in my stom­ach. ‘It’s got to be a joke,’ I thought,” the star of the Life­time se­ries “De­vi­ous Maids” told The As­so­ci­ated Press.

Chilean ac­tor-pro­ducer Cris­tian de la Fuente, the show’s other co­host, had strong words for Trump: “It’s a shame that such an im­por­tant in­sti­tu­tion as Miss USA is now in the hands of a clown.”

Ricky Martin also took to Twit­ter to blast Trump.

“A lot of ha­tred and ig­no­rance in his heart,” he tweeted.

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