Univision, the largest Spanish-language broadcaster in America, is canceling its telecast of the Miss USA pageant, and Roselyn Sénchez and Cristién De La Fuente, who were set to co-host the Spanish-language simulcast of the show, have also dropped out.
The decision comes as a firm response to Donald Trump’s inflammatory comments made during his presidential campaign announcement on June 16, in which he said Mexican immigrants coming to the U.S. are “bringing drugs.” “They’re bringing crime,” he added. “They’re rapists.”
In a statement on Thursday, Univision said it was “ending the company’s business relationship with the Miss Universe Organization, which is part-owned by Donald J. Trump, based on his recent, insulting remarks about Mexican immigrants.”
Meanwhile, in a statement obtained by PEOPLE, NBC – the network which airs the Miss USA pageant in English – distanced itself from Trump’s comments. “Donald Trump’s opinions do not represent those of NBC, and we do not agree with his positions on a number of issues, including his recent comments on immigration.”
Sénchez posted her own statement in Spanish on Instagram, writing, “As a Latina and proud of my roots, culture and everything we have contributed to this nation, I have decided to cancel my participation as co-host of Miss USA. I don’t tolerate the disrespectful and hurtful words that came out of Mr. Trump’s mouth.”
Criticizing Trump’s “lack of judgment and decency,” she continued, “Mexicans, like all our Latino brothers have contributed positively to this great nation. We are the force that keeps this country afloat. I was very excited and grateful with the opportunity to serve as a co-host of this great event in which many Latinas have shined, but I am more excited for the loyalty to my people. Enough with racism and ‘influential’ people that belittle.”
Her co-host and Devious Maids costar, de la Fuente, posted a video on Facebook, saying, “It is unacceptable to launch a presidential candidacy created on a rhetoric of hatred and discrimination in calling Mexicans drug dealers and rapists. It is a shame that such an important institution as Miss USA is in the hands of a clown.”
Just hours after J Balvin, who was slated to perform at the Miss USA pageant, backed out of his appearance in protest, Univision announced it would not be airing the event.
“At Univision, we see first-hand the work ethic, love for family, strong religious values and the important role Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans have had and will continue to have in building the future of our country,” the company said in a statement.
“We will not be airing the Miss USA pageant on July 12 or working on any other projects tied to the Trump Organization.”
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Trump, who owns the Miss Universe Organization along with Comcast’s NBCUniversal division, responded to the cancellation by threatening to hit the company with “a major lawsuit.”
He added, “Running for president is far more important to me, frankly, than running the Miss Universe pageant.”
The controversial businessman told Fox News he’s standing by his comments on Mexican immigrants, but added, “I love Mexico, I love the Mexican people.”
Last week, Jorge Ramos, a prominent Univision host, called Trump’s remarks “absurd” and “prejudiced.”