Univision called a $500 million lawsuit by Donald Trump “beyond frivolous” and reportedly said Friday that it should be tossed out by the court. Trump sued the Spanish TV network in June over its decision to terminate a five-year, $13.5 million deal to broadcast the Miss USA pageant.
Univision decided to stop airing the pageant after Trump, in his June 16 speech announcing his presidential candidacy, spoke about Mexican immigrants, saying, "They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people." Trump is a part owner of the Miss Universe Organization, along with Comcast's NBCUniversal.
In papers filed in Manhattan Federal Court Friday, lawyers for Univision said Trump’s diatribe destroyed the value of broadcast rights for the pageant as Univision’s sponsors and predominantly Hispanic viewers made it clear that they would not patronize a business connected with Trump.
"Trump offended millions during that announcement when he made disgraceful allegations about Mexican immigrants," the network's filing said. "Trump's invective ... rendered the pageants toxic to Univision's viewership," the filing added. "Trump cannot now stick Univision with the bill."
Trump's lawsuit accused Univision of willful breach of contract, defamation and First Amendment violations. The defamation claim was added by the republican presidential candidate over an Instagram post by Univision Networks president of programming and content Alberto Ciurana. The social media post featured a side-by-side portrait of him and Charleston, S.C., shooter Dylann Roof.
In September, Trump reportedly sold the Miss Universe Organization to WME/IMG, but retained rights to assert claims against Univision.