NBCUniversal has severed ties with reality TV star Donald Trump because of his claim that Mexican illegal immigrants are rapists and drug dealers.
"At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values," the group said Monday in a statement provided to the Washington Examiner's media desk. "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 'The Apprentice' on NBC," it said, referring to the popular reality TV show where D-list celebrities compete for a fake job.
A defiant Trump responded in a statement to the Examiner: "NBC is weak, and like everybody else is trying to be politically correct — that is why our country is in serious trouble."
"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," Trump said.
"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," he added. "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."
"Celebrity Apprentice," the NBCUniversal statement added, is licensed through another group, Mark Burnett's United Artists Media Group, and that relationship will continue as planned.
There are no current conversations about Trump returning to the show, a source familiar with the situation told the Examiner.
Trump also threatened to sue the media conglomerate Monday. But there is currently no active litigation, a source told the Examiner.
NBCUniversal's announcement comes just days after Univision, the most-watched Spanish-language television network in the United States, separated with the newly announced 2016 Republican presidential candidate over his controversial immigration remarks.
When Trump launched his White House bid earlier this month, he promised to fix America's broken immigration system by building a "great wall" on the southern border. He also accused Mexico of shipping its problem citizens the United States.
"They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime," Trump said. "They're rapists and some, I assume, are good people, but I speak to border guards and they're telling us what we're getting."
Univision responded to these remarks by dumping Trump's Miss USA beauty pageant, which is owned by a company partly controlled by Trump.
Trump's camp responded to Univision's announcement with defiance, and threatened to sue for millions.
"Mexican leadership has been doing serious damage to the United States by out-negotiating our representatives and political leaders," Trump said in a statement to the Examiner. "They are taking our jobs, taking our money and at the same time hurting us at the border with illegals from all over the world freely flowing into our country."
"Mr. Trump cannot be silenced on this very important problem for the United States," the statement said. "I have great respect for Mexico and love the Mexican people, but my loyalty is to the United States and making our country great again!"