UPDATE: An NBC spokesperson confirms that Burke's co-host, Thomas Roberts, is also withdrawing from the pageant.
The fallout continues. Miss Universe's Miss USA pageant may go on, but it'll go on without co-host Cheryl Burke. The Dancing With the Stars alum has backed out of her emcee duties amid ongoing backlash against the organization's corporate joint-owner Donald Trump.
"In light of recent statements made by Donald Trump and the subsequent decision by NBC to cut ties with Mr. Trump, I cannot in good conscience move forward with participating in this year's Miss USA Pageant as its co-host," Burke, 31, wrote in a statement on Facebook on Tuesday, June 30.
"Effective today I have withdrawn from my duties with Miss USA," she continued. "Although I will not be there in person, I wish all of the contestants much luck as I know how hard they've all been working over the last year to try and realize their dreams."
Burke's exit is just the latest in a series of blows dealt to the July 12 Miss USA pageant in the wake of Trump's comments about immigration. The 69-year-old Republican presidential hopeful stirred up controversy at a campaign event several weeks ago, when he made some insensitive remarks about people crossing the border from Mexico.
"They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists," he said at the time. "And some, I assume, are good people."
After the speech, Univision dropped the Miss USA broadcast, and Roselyn Sanchez and Cristian de la Fuente stepped down as co-hosts of the Spanish simulcast. NBCUniversal followed suit on Monday, June 29, when it announced it was ending its relationship with Trump.
"To that end, the annual Miss USA and Miss Universe Pageants, which are part of a joint venture between NBC and Trump, will no longer air on NBC," the network told Us Weekly in a statement, noting that "respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones" of its values. "In addition, as Mr. Trump has already indicated, he will not be participating in The Apprentice on NBC. Celebrity Apprentice is licensed from Mark Burnett's United Artists Media Group and that relationship will continue."
Trump, for his part, stands by his remarks. Amid the fallout on Monday, he told Us, "If NBC is so weak and so foolish to not understand the serious illegal immigration problem in the United States, coupled with the horrendous and unfair trade deals we are making with Mexico, then their contract violating closure of Miss Universe/Miss USA will be determined in court."
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