Donald Trump has hit back as the fallout mounts over his remarks about immigrants from Mexico, with a $500m lawsuit to match his trademark brashness.
The action against Univision for dropping the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants claims breach of contract, defamation and First Amendment breaches, and claims the American Spanish language broadcaster turned on him because it supports Democrat Hillary Clinton for US president.
In a statement, Univision called Republican presidential candidate and The Apprentice host Mr Trump’s lawsuit “factually false and legally ridiculous”, saying it would “continue to fight against Mr Trump’s ongoing efforts to run away from the derogatory comments he made”.
Univision, which moved last week to opt out of Mr Trump’s pageants because of the celebrity tycoon’s remarks earlier this month, is now far from alone.
Yesterday a TV company backed by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim said it was scrapping a project in development with him, and Mexico said it would not be sending a contestant to the Miss Universe contest, which Mr Slim partly owns.
Ora TV became the latest company to cut ties with Mr Trump over his presidential campaign kick-off speech in which he declared that some Mexican immigrants brought drugs and crime to the US and were rapists.
The company did not give any details about the project it had been developing with Mr Trump. Mr Slim holds a majority interest in Ora TV, which produces shows including Larry King Now and Off The Grid With Jesse Ventura.
And a day after Televisa, the Mexican TV network that shows Miss Universe, said there would be no telecast for the next contest, Miss Mexico pageant director Lupita Jones said Mexico would boycott Miss Universe.
Ms Jones said Mr Trump damaged the pageant and its tradition of convening countries for an event that showcases “friendship, unity and breaking down cultural barriers”.
NBC previously announced it would not show the Miss USA or Miss Universe pageants.
In a TV interview, Mr Trump said contestants were suffering because of the backlash.
“We have 50 of the most lovely women you’ve ever seen right now in Louisiana, and they have been abandoned by NBC and abandoned by Univision,” he said on Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor, adding: “They have been crushed.”
Mr Trump refused to back down from his campaign remarks, calling them “totally accurate”.
The Miss USA pageant, set to take place on July 12 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, also lost both its co-hosts yesterday, with Dancing With The Stars’ Cheryl Burke and MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts bowing out. The Miss USA pageant had no details on who might host in their place but said the proceedings would be live-streamed on its website.
Last week, the hosts of the Univision simulcast, Roselyn Sanchez and Cristian de la Fuente, said they would not take part in the Spanish-language telecast.
Aftershocks spread into another lucrative part of Mr Trump’s empire, as the Ricky Martin Foundation announced it would withdraw a golf tournament from a Trump-owned property.
The tournament, which draws professional players and big sponsors, raises money for child advocacy and scholarships for Latino students. It was to be held on August 21 at the Trump International Golf Club in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. It has been moved to the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort.
The PGA Tour, which runs a World Golf Championship at Trump Doral near Miami, Florida, and the PGA of America, declined to comment on whether Mr Trump’s remarks would affect their relationships with him.