Donald Trump, the billionaire real estate mogul who this month announced he is running as a Republican presidential candidate, has apparently angered the US television network Univision by making remarks about illegal immigrants from Mexico.
Univision announced it will cut ties with Trump and pull its Spanish-language coverage of the Miss USA beauty pageant on July 12 which Trump co-owns, reports BBC on Thursday – in response, Trump is threatening to sue.
In announcing his presidential campaign, Trump last week said of Mexico: "they're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists, and some I assume are good people, but I speak to border guards and they tell us what we are getting."
Univision called Trump's words "insulting remarks about Mexican immigrants," said it would not air the pageant and likewise would cut all business ties with him.
Trump has said his statement was a criticism of the US government for not protecting the borders, and not a condemnation of Mexicans.
He also said Univision "has no termination rights" in the contract it would be breaching by canceling, with his lawyer Michael Cohen saying, "we intend to pursue all legal rights and remedies available to Mr Trump pursuant to the terms of the licence agreement as well as a defamation case against Univision."
Trump accused the Mexican government of pressing Univision into "laying down," speaking of himself in the third-person and saying "they want to silence Donald Trump. And Donald Trump can't be silenced."
"Of course I have a signed contract: five years, they have to pay me almost $15 million," he told Fox News.
NBC has the primary broadcast rights to the pageant, and will continue as planned despite the Univision flap. The latter company was to air the competition in Spanish simultaneously for the first time.
One of two hosts who cancelled on the program, Cristian de la Fuente, said, "it's a shame that such an important institution as Miss USA is now in the hands of a clown." Likewise, Colombian singer J Balvin, who was to perform on both the English and Spanish broadcasts, has cancelled.