ABC/ Lou Rocco
by Natalie Finn | Tue., Jun. 30, 2015 3:45 PM
ABC/ Lou Rocco
When Donald Trump promises to sue...
He usually sues.
According to a statement released by his office, Trump has filed a $500 million lawsuit against Univision, alleging breach of contract over the Spanish-language broadcaster's decision to dump the upcoming Miss USA pageant in response to Trump's inflammatory comments about Mexican immigrants.
In response, Univision said in a statement: "We just reviewed Mr. Trump's complaint for the first time, and it is both factually false and legally ridiculous. We will not only vigorously defend the case, but will continue to fight against Mr. Trump's ongoing efforts to run away from the derogatory comments he made on June 16th about Mexican immigrants. Our decision to end our business relationship with Mr. Trump was influenced solely by our responsibility to speak up for the community we serve."
Per Trump, the lawsuit was filed in New York State Supreme Court against Univision Networks & Studios Inc.
His office's statement argues that, while Univision cited the controversial remarks he made June 16 while announcing his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, Univision's move was "in reality, a politically motivated attempt to suppress Mr. Trump's freedom of speech under the First Amendment as he begins to campaign for the nation's presidency" and that a Univision exec actually called and apologized, saying that the company's actions were wrong.
Yesterday, Univision CEO Randy Falco denied that he had apologized to Trump or that the network's decision was politically motivated in any way.
"There have been a number of ridiculous assertions bordering on the bizarre, made from different people, that the Mexican government put pressure on us, that we were under political pressure to hurt a Republican candidate's chances to the nomination, or that we were trying to assist other political candidates," he wrote in an internal memo, per CNN Money. "None of this is remotely true."
Patrick Prather/Miss Universe Organization
NBC announced yesterday that it will no longer be airing Miss USA on July 12 as originally planned, either, citing Trump's "derogatory" remarks. The fallout has included Roselyn Sanchez pulling out as a co-host and, today, Cheryl Burke and Thomas Roberts stepping down from the judging panel. (A rep for the pageant said that Burke and Roberts are NBC talent and subsequently had to pull out.) Moreover, Televisa announced today that Mexico will not be sending a contestant to compete in this year's Miss Universe pageant.
Meanwhile, Trump has stood steadfastly by his comments about Mexico and illegal immigration.
"I have great respect for Mexico and love for the Mexican people and their tremendous spirit!" read his new statement released along with news of the lawsuit. "However, their leaders and trade negotiators are far smarter than those representing the United States, and our citizens and economy are suffering greatly as a result. We have to remedy the situation and do it fast. These have long been my views and I have the courage, unlike many others, to express them. As a consequence of their inappropriate actions, Univision and NBC have abandoned 51 wonderful young women who have come from all over the United States to pursue their dream of being crowned Miss USA. Their participation in this globally renowned pageant has come at great cost and after years of sacrifice and hard work. NBC and Univision have wronged them greatly. Mr. Trump added, "I want to tell these contestants that the show will go on and I will be in Baton Rouge on July 12th to support them."
Pageant organizers says that the Miss USA competition will stream live on the Miss Universe website.
(E! Online and NBC are both members of the NBCUniversal family.)
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