Miss Kansas Alexis Railsback of Shawnee is in Baton Rouge, La., for the Miss USA pageant, which will be July 12. Thanks to NBC’s decision on Monday not to broadcast the pageant, the trip of a lifetime is shrouded in controversy.
Because of pageant co-owner Donald Trump’s comments about Mexican immigrants on June 16, NBC announced on Monday that it will no longer air the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants.
“At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values,” the network said in a statement on Monday. “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.”
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Last week, Trump’s comments had already led Univision, the largest Spanish-language broadcaster in America, to announce that it would not air its first-ever Spanish-language simulcast of the Miss USA pageant.
On Saturday, Railsback expressed her disappointment.
“I think it’s really unfortunate and kind of unfair that the Miss USA pageant is kind of taking the brunt for Donald Trump’s speech,” said Railsback, 19, a third-generation Mexican-American. “That’s a personal decision that he made to make that speech and to run for president, and I don’t think it is really related to the pageant in any way, other than the fact that he is the co-owner.
“The Miss Universe organization is a stand-alone company. Donald Trump is the co-owner but he does not organize the pageant, he does not run what goes on.”
In a speech announcing his 2016 presidential bid, Trump accused Mexican immigrants of bringing drugs and crime to the United States and referred to them as “rapists.” “And some, I assume, are good people,” he added. Trump later said that his remarks were directed at U.S. policymakers, not the Mexican government or its people.
Trump had already announced that he was leaving NBC’s “The Apprentice” because of his presidential run, and NBC confirmed that news as well. On Monday in Chicago after a campaign speech to civic leaders, Trump said he’s not apologizing for his statements because they “were correct.”
“Whatever they want to do is OK with me,” Trump told reporters.
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.
Trump also issued a statement on Monday, reported by The Hollywood Reporter, calling NBC “weak” and “foolish.” He said that NBC’s “contract violating closure of Miss Universe/Miss USA will be determined in court.”
Trump has also threatened to sue Univision over its decision to cancel the pageant broadcast.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.