UPDATES with details: A rep for the Miss USA Pageant tells Deadline fans will be able to view the pageant via the Miss USA site – http://www.missuniverse.com/missusa – and more information will be announced soon. That presumably includes names of a new host, or hosts, for the pageant. Both previously announced co-hosts, who also host NBCU programs, confirmed today they were stepping down, in the wake of NBC’s announcement it was pulling its broadcast of the pageant in the wake of Donald Trump’s extremely controversial comment about Mexican immigrants.
Trump has told Bill O’Reilly that those who have stepped away from participating in the pageant broadcast have “abandoned 50 of the most lovely women you’ve ever seen” and so far he’s sued Univision over its decision to yank its broadcast of the pageant. That interview airs tonight on FNC’s The O’Reilly Factor.
Meanwhile, one of those bailed co-hosts, Thomas Roberts, this afternoon tweeted obliviously:
Previous: An NBC rep confirmed Thomas Roberts is withdrawing as co-host from the Miss USA Pageant in the wake of NBC’s decision to pull the plug on its broadcast over co-owner Donald Trump’s comments about Mexican immigrants:
NBC’s announcement yesterday it was pulling the plug on its Miss USA Pageant broadcast exploded the entire pageant on-air talent arrangement, given how much NBCU talent had been lined up for the competition/broadcast.
Before Donald Trump laid out his thoughts on the Mexican border in announcing his White House bid, Roberts, host of NBCU’s MSNBC Live With Thomas Roberts, was announced as returning to host the Miss USA Pageant. He was to have been teamed, for the first time, with Cheryl Burke of NBC’s I Can Do That.
Burke was first to make it official that she was exiting as Miss USA co-host.
The first group of judges to join the Miss USA judging panel was going to include Terrence Jenkins, aka co-anchor of NBCU’s E! News. And, behind-the-scenes commentator Jeannie Mai, aka NBC’s Today fashion correspondent, was announced as returning to take viewers backstage to engage with contestants and talent throughout the telecast – a broadcast that no longer is happening.
Roberts first hosted NBC/Trump’s other pageant, Miss Universe, in 2013 when it was caught up in another controversy. He and Mel B had replaced Andy Cohen and Giuliana Rancic, who dropped out because of the pageant’s filming location in Moscow and Russia’s anti-gay laws. Roberts said he aggressively campaigned to replace Cohen, seeing it as a big opportunity for LGBT people; he is openly gay. Back then, the Miss Universe Organization issued a statement that the new Russian laws are “diametrically opposed to the core values” of Miss Universe.
Miss USA Pageant organizers announced this morning the 2015 competition still will take place on July 12, though NBC as well as Univision have bailed on broadcasting the annual event owing to co-owner Trump’s comments on Mexican immigration.
“We are disheartened by recent events but the show will go on,” the pageant’s governing body announced this morning, calling it an event that “is built on a foundation of inclusion and continues to be a celebration of diversity and of all cultures,” adding, “This year’s Miss USA contestants represent many different ethnic backgrounds, including six Latinas (four of whom are of Mexican descent).”
One day earlier, NBC announced it was dumping the pageant broadcast, as well as the Miss Universe Pageant broadcast, and was splitting from Trump, with whom NBC co-owns the two pageants. NBC said it was breaking up with Trump because of his remarks about immigrants made in his speech two weeks ago, announcing his White House bid.
“At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values,” NBC said yesterday. “Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump.”
Univision had beaten NBC to the punch by a week, announcing it was dumping the Miss USA Pageant broadcast as well, owing to Trump’s comments. Yesterday’s NBC announcement had some industry pundits wondering what took NBC so long; the day Trump made his controversial remarks, NBC issued a statement saying it did not endorse them.
The real estate tycoon, who says he will sue Univision and may sue NBC as well, made the remarks earlier this month as he announced his POTUS candidacy:
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
This morning, the Miss Universe Organization said, “It is unfortunate that recent events beyond our control have only served to negatively impact the women who participate in the pageant, our state directors, our sponsors and our fans. We want our supporters to know we remain to committed to them and we will be conducting the pageant, regardless of the current situation.”