Donald Trump has filed a $500 million lawsuit against Univision Communications following the company’s move to scrap its planned telecast of the July 12 Miss USA beauty pageant as a result of Trump’s disparaging comments about Mexican immigrants.
The Miss Universe Organization said the suit was filed Tuesday in New York State Supreme Court. Univision declined to comment. The complaint also cites Univision Networks programming president Alberto Ciurana as a defendant.
Trump stirred outrage at a news conference announcing himself as a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination when he described many Mexican (illegal) immigrants as criminals and “rapists.” Univision and NBC have condemned Trump’s statements and cited them as the reason for yanking the pageant telecast.
“Nothing that I stated was different from what I have been saying for many years. I want strong borders, and I do not support or condone illegal immigration. There is a high level of crime occurring in this country due to unchecked illegal immigration. This is a major security issue for the United States,” Trump said. “Additionally, the terrible trade deals our government is routinely entering into with Mexico are causing great financial harm to our country. We are losing a huge number of jobs, manufacturing opportunities and money due to poorly negotiated trade deals, a fact that undisputable. That won’t happen if I become president— this disturbing trend will end and it will end quickly.”
Univision was just at the start of a multi-year contract to carry the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants. NBC is in the unusual position of pulling its own property as it has been a 50-50 owner of the pageant franchise with Trump since 2002. Televisa, a part owner of Univision and Mexico’s largest broadcaster, has also scrapped plans to carry the Miss Universe pageant.
In his statement on the lawsuit, Trump claimed he got a call from an unnamed “high-ranking” Univision executive apologizing for the company’s decision. Trump has previously asserted that the Spanish-language media giant acted under pressure from the Mexican government.
“I have great respect for Mexico and love for the Mexican people and their tremendous spirit! 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,” Trump said.
The complaint also maintains that Univision CEO Randy Falco and others conspired to pressure NBC to cut ties with Trump. NBC’s decision came five days after Univision publicly condemned Trump’s statement and announced it would pull the July 12 telecast.
According to the complaint, Univision planned to pay out in full the $13.5 million value of its five-year contract with Miss Universe Organization. The deal called for Univision to pay a license fee of $2.5 million a year for the first three years, and $3 million a year for the final two years of the contract.
What do you think about this lawsuit? Is Donald Trump justified?