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NBC cuts Donald Trump ties over comments on immigrants

Real estate mogul and TV personality Donald Trump formally announces his bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination during an event at Trump Tower in New York.
Real estate mogul and TV personality Donald Trump formally announces his bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination during an event at Trump Tower in New York.
Brendan McDermid/Reuters /Landov

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NBCUniversal is ceasing business with real estate developer/reality show producer/presidential candidate Donald Trump after he made derogatory comments during the announcement of his presidential bid.

"When Mexico sends its people they're not sending their best," Trump said. "They're sending people that have lots of problems. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. Some, I assume are good people."

When asked if he would retract his remarks on Mexico, Trump said that his comments were "100 percent right" but that he believes "Mexican people are fantastic" and that his relationship with the Mexican community is "great."

In reaction to his remarks, NBCUniversal is dropping Miss USA and Miss Universe from its repertoire. They released a statement saying:

"At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values. Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump. To that end, the annual Miss USA and Miss Universe Pageants, which are part of a joint venture between NBC and Trump, will no longer air on NBC. In addition, as Mr. Trump has already indicated, he will not be participating in 'The Apprentice' on NBC. 'Celebrity Apprentice' is licensed from Mark Burnett's United Artists Media Group and that relationship will continue."

Joe Adalian, west coast editor with, spoke with the Frame's John Horn to discuss the news.

Interview Highlights

What really forced NBC's hand here? Was it an online petition, outcry from other corners, or were the ratings really not that good?

The ratings for the show are fine. If anything, this was a decision that was months, if not years in the making. I think some people at NBC probably wanted to do this a long time ago, but for whatever reason they didn't, which is sad. It's sad that the Confederate Flag came down more quickly than Donald Trump got fired. Essentially, I think Trump's statements about Latino immigrants were sort of the final straw. As was Univision's decision, bravely, to sort of set out in front of this and say, "We're not going to televise the pageant."

Trump owns the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants. He operates a joint venture with NBC to produce them and to air it on English-language networks — Univision was the Spanish-language network. Univision last week, to its credit, said, "No, basta. This is gone," and they pulled the plug. That, I think put NBC in a corner. They could no longer sit by while another big media partner said "no" and it sort of was the one saying "yes."

What happens with the time slot? Will someone else pick it up up? What does NBC do with that hole in its schedule? 

This is not a big issue for NBC financially. It's a big issue for it in turns of public relations, which is why they finally had to act. The only question is, what took them so long? It's sad to see that big organizations like this can sort of get so sclerotic in terms of making the right call. 

What we don't know is what was going on behind the scenes. NBC has complex financial dealings with Trump, and as you know, is that Donald Trump can be very litigious. Trump has already threatened to sue NBC over this. It could be that they were trying to work this out behind the scenes and they eventually just finally said, "Forget about it, we got to jump."

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