Since announcing his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump has been criticized for his extreme anti-immigration stance. When he launched his campaign on June 16, he said that Mexico is "sending people that have lots of problems, and they are bringing those problems to us. They are bringing drugs, and bringing crime, and their rapists."
"Some, I assume, are good people," he continued.
Nearly two weeks later, NBC Universal, the company that airs his series Celebrity Apprentice as well as the annual Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, owned by Trump, have officially cut ties.
Here is the company's official statement:
"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 Celebrity Apprentice on NBC. Celebrity Apprentice is licensed from Mark Burnett's United Artists Media Group and that relationship will continue."
Despite backlash, Trump continued speaking out about immigration as recently as Sunday night when he appeared on CNN's State of the Union. "I like Mexico. I love the Mexican people. ... But you have people coming through the border that are from all over, and they're bad. They're really bad," he said, suggesting a wall at the border between Mexico and the U.S. "Mexico makes a fortune because of us. A wall is a tiny little peanut compared to that. I would do something very severe unless they contributed or gave us the money to build the wall. I'd build it. I'd build it very nicely. I'm very good at building things."
He continued to stand by his earlier comments in his official statement on the end of his working relationship with NBC, calling his views on illegal immigration "accurate."
"We must have strong borders and not let illegal immigrants enter the United States. As has been stated continuously in the press, people are pouring across our borders unabated. Public reports routinely state great amounts of crime are being committed by illegal immigrants. This must be stopped and it must be stopped now. Long ago I told NBC that I would not being doing The Apprentice because I am running for President in order to Make our Country Great Again," he said in a statement obtained by BuzzFeed News. "If NBC is so weak and so foolish to not understand the serious illegal immigration problem in the United States, coupled with the horrendous and unfair trade deals we are making with Mexico, then their contract violating closure of Miss Universe/Miss USA will be determined in court. Furthermore, 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."
At an event in Chicago, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Trump told reporters that he ended the relationship with NBC. "They did not want me to run. They wanted me to do The Apprentice," Trump reportedly said. "As far as ending the relationship, I have to do that because my view on immigration is much different than the people at NBC."
Trump had been in business with NBC since 2003, when the company became a joint partner in the Miss Universe Organization, which Trump has owned for nearly 20 years. That same year, The Apprentice, hosted and executive-produced by Trump, made its debut. Its current iteration, The Celebrity Apprentice, launched in 2006. Its seventh season ended in February, when NBC renewed it for another season, which will likely air early next year.
A representative for Burnett did not immediately reply to BuzzFeed News' request for a comment.
Jaimie Etkin is the entertainment editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Jaimie Etkin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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