The American television network NBC has announced that it is ending its business relationship with mogul and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump because of comments he made about Mexican immigrants during the launch of his campaign.
The network said it would no longer air the annual Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, a joint venture between the company and Mr Trump. Miss USA has aired on NBC since 2003, and this year’s edition was set for 12 July.
“At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values,” NBC said in a statement.
Mr Trump replied that a “weak” NBC should prepare to meet him in court.
On Monday, Mexican media giant Televisa said it will no longer air the Miss Universe pageant and will not do business with Mr Trump on any other communication project.
Televisa, one of the largest TV groups in the hemisphere, said in a statement that Mr Trump’s “disrespectful” remarks offended the entire Mexican population. The company said it “strongly rejects all forms of discrimination, racism and xenophobia”.
A representative for Mr Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
NBC’s action comes less than a week after Univision similarly decided to ditch Mr Trump and the pageants. Mr Trump has also been a fixture on NBC as host of The Apprentice and its celebrity offshoot, and an agreement that he would no longer be on the show predated the current controversy.
Mr Trump said he anticipated losing the business relationship and that he’s not apologising for his statements because they “were correct”.
“Whatever they want to do is OK with me,” Mr Trump said in Chicago.
But in a statement issued by his company in New York, Mr Trump said “NBC is weak, and like everybody else is trying to be politically correct. That is why our country is in serious trouble.”
He said he would consider suing, as he plans to do with Univision. He also took a shot at NBC’s decision to demote, but not fire, news anchor Brian Williams for telling false stories about some of the reporting he was involved in.
“They will stand behind lying Brian Williams, but won’t stand behind people that tell it like it is, as unpleasant as that may be,” he said.
During his presidential announcement, Mr Trump said Mexican immigrants are “bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists and some, I assume, are good people.”
He later said that his remarks were directed at US policymakers, not the Mexican government or its people.