Donald Trump's Mexican Immigrant Comment Backlash: J Balvin Cancels Miss USA Performance, Univision Cuts Ties

Owner of Miss Universe Organization continues to defend controversial remarks he made in speech announcing his bid for president

By Rebecca Macatee Jun 25, 2015 3:52 PMTags
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Another day, another Donald Trump feud!

The real estate mogul made some controversial comments about Mexican immigrants when he announced his bid for president last week, and as a result, Colombian singer J Balvin has cancelled his performance at the upcoming Miss USA pageant. (The pageant is run by the Miss Universe Organization, which is owned jointly by Trump and NBCUniversal. E! News reached out to the Miss Universe Organization for comment but did not receive an immediate response.)

"It was going to be my first performance on national [mainstream] television," Balvin told Billboard exclusively on Wednesday. "But we're talking about our roots, our culture, our values...This isn't about being punitive, but about showing leadership through social responsibility. His comments weren't just about Mexicans, but about all Latins in general."

During Trump's June 16 speech declaring his bid for the GOP nomination, he claimed the United States "has become a dumping ground for everybody else's problems," saying, "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. 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. And some, I assume, are good people."

Trump alleged that these "problems" are "coming from more than Mexico," saying, "It's coming from all over South and Latin America, and it's coming probably, probably, from the Middle East."

Balvin, who was in Colombia when Trump made the aforementioned comments, didn't hear the speech until later. Even then, he told Billboard, he only realized Trump's connection with Miss USA when a friend pointed it out to him. Needless to say, though, he was shocked.

"Mexico is a Latin powerhouse," said Balvin. "And Mexicans, they're known as hard workers. Here in the U.S., not everybody wants to do those kinds of jobs. I've lived. I know what it feels like and what they go through and how families suffer. A comment like that is powerful."

It was because of this, Balvin said, that he opted out of performing on the July 12 show. "I think music is to have fun. It's for people to have a good time with," Balvin said. "I'm no savior and I'm no Robin Hood. But in this case, I feel totally comfortable and responsible with my decision."

Balvin isn't the only one cutting ties with Trump over his comments—on Thursday, the entertainment division of Univision Communications Inc released a statement to announce "that it is ending the Company's business relationship with the Miss Universe Organization, which is part-owned by Donald J. Trump, based on his recent, insulting remarks about Mexican immigrants."

The statement continued: "At Univision, we see first-hand 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. We will not be airing the Miss USA pageant on July 12th or working on any other projects tied to the Trump Organization."

Trump's team released the following statement Thursday: "The Mexican government and others are putting tremendous pressure on Univision to break their signed and fully effective contract with the Miss Universe Organization because Mr. Trump has been exposing to the public, and the world, the significant damage that is being done at the southern border, and the terrible and costly trade deals that the United States is  incompetently making with Mexico (these deals are great for Mexico and horrible  for the United States). This has been sharply and openly brought out during Mr. Trump's run for President of the United States. 'Mexican leadership has been doing serious damage to the United States by out-negotiating our representatives and political leaders.  They are taking our jobs, taking our money and at the same time hurting us at the border with illegals from all over the world freely flowing into our country.'  Mr. Trump cannot be silenced on this very important problem for the United States. I have great respect for Mexico and love the Mexican people, but my loyalty is to the United States and making our country great again!"

He also addressed the Univision fallout on Twitter, writing, "Mexican gov doesn't want me talking about terrible border situation & horrible trade deals. Forcing Univision to get me to stop- no way!"

He continued: "Univision wants to back out of signed @MissUniverse contract because I exposed the terrible trade deals that the U.S. makes with Mexico...I love Mexico but not the unfair trade deals that the US so stupidly makes with them. Really bad for US jobs, only good for Mexico."

—Reporting by Lindsay Good & Baker Machado

(Originally published June 25, 2015 at 8:03 a.m. PT)

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