NBC dumps Trump over immigration com­ments

Mogul will not ap­pear on ‘ Ap­pren­tice,’ and the net­work won’t air his beauty pageants.

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS - By Stephen Battaglio

NEW YORK — NBCUniver­sal de­liv­ered a mes­sage to Don­ald Trump over his re­cent re­marks re­gard­ing im­mi­grants: You’re fired.

The com­pany an­nounced Mon­day that it was sev­er­ing ties with the out­spo­ken real es­tate mogul and re­al­ity star who is pur­su­ing the 2016 Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion for pres­i­dent. He will no longer be a part of the NBC se­ries “Celebrity Ap­pren­tice,” and his two beauty pageants, Miss USA and Miss Uni­verse, will no longer air on the net­work.

It was more bad news for “The Don­ald” since com­ing un­der f ire for his June 16 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign an­nounce­ment in which he made deroga­tory com­ments about Mex­i­can im­mi­grants while crit­i­ciz­ing U. S. gov­ern­ment ef­forts to se­cure the U. S.- Mexico bor­der. Span­ish- lan­guage broad­caster Univi­sion, which also broad­casted the pageants, sev­ered ties with Trump last week.

“At NBC, re­spect and dig­nity for all peo­ple are cor­ner­stones of our val­ues,” the com­pany said in a state­ment. “Due to the re­cent deroga­tory state­ments by Don­ald Trump re­gard­ing

im­mi­grants, NBCUniver­sal is end­ing its busi­ness re­la­tion­ship with Mr. Trump.”

NBCUniver­sal and Trump’s com­pany, the Trump Or­ga­ni­za­tion, op­er­ated the pageants in a joint ven­ture, which started in 2002. NBCUniver­sal said it would con­tinue to work with Mark Bur­nett’s United Artists Media Group, which pro­duces “Celebrity Ap­pren­tice.” The se­ries, which fea­tured Trump and his two chil­dren, will prob­a­bly air with another high- pro­file en­tre­pre­neur as the star, ac­cord­ing to an NBCUniver­sal ex­ec­u­tive unau­tho­rized to dis­cuss the mat­ter pub­licly.

The firestorm be­gan when Trump de­scribed the U. S. as “a dump­ing ground for ev­ery­body else’s prob­lems” adding that “when Mexico sends its peo­ple, they’re not send­ing their best. They’re send­ing peo­ple that have lots of prob­lems, and they’re bring­ing those prob­lems with us. They’re bring­ing drugs. They’re bring­ing crime. They’re rapists.”

Univi­sion was the first to take ac­tion, an­nounc­ing it would not air the Miss Uni­verse pageant sched­uled for July 12 even though it had al­ready paid a $ 2.5- mil­lion li­cense fee for the event. The net­work had re­cently signed a f ive- year deal to carry the pageant. Trump has said he would sue Univi­sion for breach of con­tract.

NBC En­ter­tain­ment Chair­man Bob Green­blatt was ready to pull the plug on the net­work’s re­la­tion­ship with Trump im­me­di­ately af­ter his com­ments, ac­cord­ing to peo­ple in­side the net­work fa­mil­iar with the dis­cus­sions. They said the com­pany is still look­ing at how to legally ex­tri­cate it­self from its busi­ness re­la­tion­ship with Trump, but in­formed him of its in­ten­tions Mon­day morn­ing.

Trump could re­tain full own­er­ship of the pageants and sell the broad­cast rights to another TV out­let. He did not men­tion le­gal ac­tion when the NBC an­nounce­ment was brought up dur­ing his ap­pear­ance at a City Club lun­cheon in Chicago, and sug­gested he un­der­stood the com­pany’s de­ci­sion.

“As long as I was run­ning for pres­i­dent, they were not happy with it,” Trump said. “They wanted me to do ‘ The Ap­pren­tice.’ And now with my state­ments on im­mi­gra- tion, which hap­pen to be cor­rect, they are go­ing to take a dif­fer­ent stance so that’s OK.... I think as far as end­ing the re­la­tion­ship, I have to do that, be­cause my view on immigration is much dif­fer­ent than the peo­ple at NBC.”

How­ever, Trump took a tougher stance in a state­ment is­sued by Trump Or­ga­ni­za­tion, which said “vi­o­lat­ing clo­sure of Miss Uni­verse/ Miss USA will be de­ter­mined in court.”

He added a shot at dis­graced NBC News an­chor Brian Wil­liams, who was re­cently de­moted from his job at “NBC Nightly News.” The net­work “will stand be­hind ly­ing Brian Wil­liams but won’t stand be­hind peo­ple that tell it like it is, as un­pleas­ant as that may be,” the state­ment read.

Although Trump has a strong show­ing in early polls among the crowded f ield of Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates, his cam­paign ap­pears to be hav­ing a neg­a­tive ef­fect on his busi­ness.

One for­mer NBC ex­ec­u­tive es­ti­mated Trump is earn­ing roughly $ 2 mil­lion an episode for his ser­vices on “Celebrity Ap­pren­tice.” But the pro­mo­tional ex­po­sure from a reg­u­lar TV show and the pageants pro­vided even greater value and recog­ni­tion for the Trump brand name.

If NBC had kept Trump as the star of “Celebrity Ap­pren­tice” and his pageants on the air, the net­work prob­a­bly would have faced a con­sumer boy­cott led by Latino groups an­gry over his re­marks. Such an out­come would have made it dif­fi­cult for NBC to sell com­mer­cials on the pro­grams and ul­ti­mately turn them into money losers.

NBC’s move was ap­plauded by Janet Mur­guia, pres­i­dent and CEO of the Na­tional Coun­cil of La Raza.

“NBC de­serves an enor­mous amount of credit for reaf­firm­ing what their com­pany stands for and, as im­por­tantly, what it does not stand for,” she said in a state­ment.

Mur­guia said Trump has a right to ex­press his opin­ions, “how­ever rep­re­hen­si­ble and just plain false they may be ... but no one is im­mune from oth­ers ex­er­cis­ing their own 1st Amend­ment rights to crit­i­cize or ob­ject to those opin­ions. And no one has a ‘ right’ to a tele­vi­sion show.”

An­drew H. Walker Getty I mages

DON­ALD TRUMP, above at a “Celebrity Ap­pren­tice” event in Fe­bru­ary, has come un­der f ire for mak­ing deroga­tory re­marks about Mex­i­can im­mi­grants.

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