The Donald – Donald Trump the presidential candidate and owner of the Miss Universe pageant – has filed a $500 million lawsuit against Univision.
The lawsuit follows what Trump claims is the media company’s reneging on an alleged “iron clad” agreement to broadcast the Miss Universe pageant and follows controversial comments made by Trump over Mexico and Mexicans.
He claims the reneging by Univision is an attempt to suppress freedom of speech and is politically motivated.
The lawsuit, which was filed with the New York State Supreme Court, states that Univision and the Miss Universe Organization, which Trump co-owns, had reached an agreement in January that included the rights to broadcast the Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and the Miss Universe competition from 2015 through 2019.
Politico reports that Univision agreed to pay $2.5 million per year until 2017, and $3 million per year for 2018 and 2019, and to make “reasonable efforts” to broadcast it over two to three hours on a Sunday night.
In a statement, Trump said Univision’s’ decision not to broadcast the pageant was politically motivated and an attempt to suppress his freedom of speech: “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,” Trump said in part.
Univision announced last week that it would not broadcast the Miss Universe pageant, scheduled to take place on July 12, because of the remarks Trump made about Mexican immigrants during the launch of his presidential campaign. Since then, NBCUniversal has also pledged to cut ties with the real estate mogul, while Mexico has pulled its contestantfrom the pageant.
During his campaign announcement, Trump promised to build a wall that would stop Mexico from dumping “rapists” and criminals on U.S. soil. Trump later accused the media of trying “to distort my comments regarding Mexico and its great people.”
In his statement Tuesday, Trump sought to clarify his remarks about illegal immigrants in more careful terms:
“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,” he 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.”
Trump’s lawsuit also reveals that a high-ranking Univision executive called Trump last week claiming that Univision had been “inundated with calls demanding that Univision immediately terminate its relationship” with Trump after his remarks and that they could “no longer sell” the pageant to its sponsors or viewers.
Trump also claims that the executive apologized to him for pulling the pageant. According to the lawsuit, the executive said that the decision had been made to simply pay the Miss Universe Organization its $13.5 million in licensing fees.
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