The Donald Trump "border war" with NBC and Univision is continuing, with the business mogul and reality TV star accusing NBC of abandoning the women competing in the Miss USA pageant and suing Univision for $500 million.
Both networks backed out of airing the July 12 pageant from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, after Trump's June 16 presidential announcement included controversial remarks about rapists and other illegal alien criminals allegedly coming across the southern border from Mexico.
Trump owns both the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants in a joint venture with NBCUniversal.
Cheryl Burke is the latest celebrity to bail out of hosting duties as a result of the uproar. Although it's unclear who if anyone will assume the hosting role, the event itself apparently will be streamed live on the Miss USA website.
The Donald, who separately continues to profess his love for the Mexican people, filed a $500 million lawsuit yesterday against Unvision for allegedly breaching an iron-clad contract to broadcast the beauty pageant for five years.
In a segment last night with Bill O'Reilly on The O'Reilly Factor, the brash businessman claimed that NBC execs were angry that he is exiting the ratings-winning and recently renewed Apprentice franchise to run for president. He also described the network as "weak" and "afraid" of the border security issue.
Blasting both networks for waging what some might call a war on women, Trump insisted the show must go on, as the saying goes in the world of entertainment.
"We have 50 of the most lovely women you have ever seen right now in Louisiana, and they have been abandoned by NBC, and abandoned by Univision. And I'm going to work it out so that the show goes on. But they have been totally abandoned. Their parents are there, their families are there. These are fabulous young women, and NBC didn't even think about that when they did it. And I told them, I said 'how can you do this to these wonderful women,' I mean, they're young women, and they have been crushed… It's a very sad thing. [NBC and Univision] could have put this on, and we are going to have the pageant anyway."To backup his earlier assertions about illegal immigrant crime, Trump claimed in the O'Reilly exchange that according to the Univision-owned Fusion channel, 80 percent of Central American women attempting to cross the border illegally are raped.Trump concluded the interview by assailing NBC for its liberal bias, calling MSNBC in particular "a total disaster in terms of bias." He also claimed that he confided to his daughter Ivanka that it is much easier to navigate the celebrity red-carpet precincts as a liberal Democrat.
Although Trump is running for president as a Republican, he has in the past praised many Democrats (including Obama and the Clintons) and has given money to their party. In prior election cycles, he has flirted with mounting a third-party presidential campaign.
According to Politico, Univision and Bill and Hillary Clinton have a deep relationship, which includes a partnership with the Clinton Foundation, cheerleading for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, and newscasts that often "bashed Republicans."
Donald Trump this week also lost his menswear line contract with Macy's, which means that the retail store is cutting ties with his ties among other apparel.
[Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images Entertainment]
Added: In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Miss USA/Miss Universe president Paula Shugart indicated that the pageant is exploring other media options in addition to streaming. As far as the ongoing Donald Trump controversy, Shugart offered this viewpoint.
"All we can do is give the show that our fans have always liked. We've always had great fans in the Hispanic community. If somebody doesn't want to watch us, that's going to be their prerogative. All I can do in our current frame is operate, get the show on, and put it on for anybody that wants to see it. I certainly hope they'll tune in. It will be a great show and it will be great for the contestants."