The leading GOP presidential candidate doesn’t even own the Miss Universe Organization anymore, but Donald Trump and Univision still are fighting over the broadcaster dropping the Miss USA pageant in late June over comments the billionaire made about immigrants being “rapists” and criminals. Today, Univision shot back with a motion to have the court dismiss Trump’s amended complaint of last month in the $500 million breach-of-contract and defamation case.
And Univision didn’t hold back – on either the moral or financial bottom line.
“The entire breach claim fails because Trump has pled himself out of court: the Amended Complaint and the public record show that Trump’s anti-Mexican immigrant tirades frustrated the essential purpose of Univision’s agreement, which was to secure 100% of the advertising revenues from broadcasting the Trump-branded pageants in Spanish to Univision’s predominantly Hispanic and largely Mexican-American audience,” the company said, addressing Trump’s claim of breach of contract (read it here). “Trump’s invective — and Miss Universe’s silence in the face of it — rendered the pageants toxic to Univision’s viewership, which obliterated the central goal of the licensing deal and the very reason Univision was carrying the programs. Trump cannot now stick Univision with the bill.”
The Spanish-language network, which was sued by the ex-Apprentice host on June 30, also pushes aside Trump’s contention that it was Univision that convinced NBC not to air the English-language version of the annual Miss USA ceremony.
“After Trump’s nationally publicized remarks caused a massive upheaval of his own business prospects, it would be extremely far-fetched to conclude that it was actually Univision’s executives who made the business decisions at NBC,” says a memorandum of law from network lawyers Randy Mastro and Miquel Estrada that accompanies Friday’s motion. “If Miss Universe found itself unable to satisfy the condition precedent of maintaining an English-language network broadcaster, it has no one to blame but Trump.”
A frequent presence on NBC shows and channels despite the ongoing feud over Miss Universe, including hosting Saturday Night Live, Trump bought out the Comcast-owned net’s 51% stake in the pageant on September 11. At the time, the real estate mogul said via Twitter that he’d “settled all lawsuits against them.” That settlement apparently did not include Univision, nor Trump dragging NBC’s name back into the matter. In his amended complaint of November 6 Trump alleged that NBC was colluding with Univision over both dumping the show.
On September 14, WME | IMG picked up The Miss Universe Organization, which includes Miss Universe pagant plus Miss USA and Miss Teen USA. The crown-winning ceremonies now will be seen on Fox under a deal announced on October 28. The three-hour 64th annual Miss Universe Pageant will air live December 20 from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Donald Trump is not scheduled to appear — though he might find himself in federal court for a while over this battle with Univision.
Jeffrey Goldman of the NYV office of Belkin Burden Wenig & Goldman LLP is leading the team of lawyers representing Donald Trump in the matter.