NBC is cutting ties with real estate mogul and 2016 presidential candidate Donald Trump, citing controversial comments in which Trump said that undocumented immigrants from Mexico are “rapists” who “are bringing drugs” to the United States.
“At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values. Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBC is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump,” the company, which has aired Trump’s show “Celebrity Apprentice” for 14 seasons, said in a statement released on Monday afternoon.
Earlier this month, when Trump officially announced his run for president, he said that the people who immigrate from Mexico “have lots of problems, and they are bringing those problems to us,” such as drug trafficking and sexual assault. He also suggested that, if he were elected, he would build a “great, great wall on the southern border.”
At the time, a spokesperson for the Republican National Committee acknowledged that Trump’s comments were “not helpful to the cause” of appealing to Latino voters.
Trump’s long history of anti-immigration views are perhaps not helpful to NBC’s cause, either. In 2011, an Atlantic analysis of the political makeup of the “Celebrity Apprentice” audience suggested that the mogul’s sharp turn to the right — and particularly his “birther” conspiracy theory suggesting that President Obama is not a U.S. citizen — drove away some of his show’s mainly liberal audience.
NBC did not offer comment on an online petition calling on the network to fire Trump that has garnered more than 200,00 signatures. “You are supporting a growing trend of bigotry and division in this country,” that petition read. “A large part of your audience is Hispanic and we watch NBC, NBC News, and Telemundo. How about looking out for us?”