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Univision Cancels Miss USA Over Donald Trump's Mexico Comments


The nation's largest Spanish-language TV network is cutting ties with Donald Trump. Univision is dropping plans to broadcast the Miss Universe Pageant. Trump co-owns the pageant. The broadcaster's ending the relationship following comments Trump made about Mexican immigrants last week when he announced his presidential bid. NPR's Greg Allen has more from Miami.

GREG ALLEN, BYLINE: There have been a lot of announcements recently by candidates saying they're running for president. So you can be forgiven if you didn't listen closely to Donald Trump's comments last week when he announced his presidential bid at Trump Tower in New York. It was a long speech in which Trump said the country is in serious trouble. He talked about the need for America to begin beating China in trade and Japan in manufacturing and then he mentioned Mexico.


DONALD TRUMP: When do we beat Mexico at the border? They're laughing at us, at our stupidity.

ALLEN: When Mexico sends its people, Trump said, they're not sending their best.


TRUMP: 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.

ALLEN: There was one large group that was paying attention to Trump's comments - Hispanics, and many were outraged.

ROBERTO ORCI: And I was listening to it in the car on my way to work and by the time I got to the office everybody was talking about it.

ALLEN: Roberto Orci is CEO of Acento Advertising, a Hispanic agency in Los Angeles. Orci says Trump didn't limit himself to insulting Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans. Later in the speech, he blasted immigrants coming from all over South and Latin America.

ORCI: With one short speech about us, he targeted the entire Latino culture as being rapists and murderers and terrorists.

ALLEN: In the days following the speech, Hispanic leaders excoriated Trump. Jorge Ramos, Univision's news anchor, said Trump had become, quote, "the Hispanic community's most hated man." Today, Univision backed up Ramos's comments with action. The network announced it's ending its relationship with Trump and the Miss Universe Pageant, which he co-owns. It's an announcement that likely comes with a cost. Univision just signed a five-year deal with the pageant in January. The LA Times reports Univision has already paid $2.5 million for this year's pageant rights, rights the company now says it will not exercise.

With his comments, Trump has alienated a key part of the pageant's core audience. Viewership for the Miss Universe Pageant has declined steeply in recent years among every demographic group except one - Hispanics. Carlos Santiago advises companies on how best to reach the growing Hispanic market. He says Trump's comments have hurt the pageant's connection to Latinos.

CARLOS SANTIAGO: Donald Trump himself has been extremely marketing-oriented and growing brands, so he must know the value that the pageant and the Miss Universe brand has among Hispanics.

ALLEN: Trump says he plans to sue Univision for breach of contract and today he blamed Univision's actions on the Mexican government. He said Mexico was putting pressure on the network because of his opposition to trade deals with that country. Miss Universe is scheduled for January, but the Miss USA Pageant - a Miss Universe preliminary - is set for next month. Following Univision's decision, the pageant hasn't just lost a broadcaster. Today, two of the event's hosts said they also were dropping out. Greg Allen, NPR News, Miami. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

As NPR's Miami correspondent, Greg Allen reports on the diverse issues and developments tied to the Southeast. He covers everything from breaking news to economic and political stories to arts and environmental stories. He moved into this role in 2006, after four years as NPR's Midwest correspondent.
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