Save the sash! The parent organization for Miss USA has confirmed to Us Weekly that the 2015 pageant is still happening despite NBC pulling the broadcast on Monday, June 29, amidst Donald Trump's controversial statements about Mexican immigrants.
The pageant will still be held in Baton Rouge on Sunday, July 12, the organization told Us, while distancing itself from its corporate joint-owner Trump. "We are disheartened by recent events but the show will go on," the statement to Us read. "The Miss Universe Organization operates as an independent company. In its 64 year history, and under many owners, Miss Universe has developed into a globally recognized brand, with nearly 150 franchise holders domestically and internationally, the majority of whom are small business owners."
Trump, 69, bought the pageant in 1996, and brokered a deal with NBC in 2002, that gave the network half-ownership over the organization. NBC confirmed to Us Weekly on Monday that it was pulling Trump's entertainment ventures with its network, including the Miss USA and Miss Universe Pageants. As of Tuesday, no network has picked up the pageant's broadcast after NBC dropped the popular televised event from its lineup.
The 2016 presidential hopeful incited controversy at a campaign kickoff event several weeks ago. "The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else's problems," Trump said at the time. "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best… They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."
While Trump's comments were regarded by many as racist, Miss USA's statement to Us emphasized its focus on tolerance. "The Miss Universe Organization is built on a foundation of inclusion and continues to be a celebration of diversity and of all cultures," the statement continued. "This year's Miss USA contestants represent many different ethnic backgrounds, including six Latinas (four of whom are of Mexican descent.) Annually, nearly ten thousand young women all around the world participate in Miss Universe pageant events. We continue to welcome those from all backgrounds to enter our system. Our franchisees work tirelessly every day to empower young women to be confident and to be their personal best while raising awareness and millions of dollars for philanthropic endeavors."
Despite the fallout on Monday, Trump remained resolute and unapologetic about his remarks about immigrants. In a statement to Us, he said: "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."
Miss USA concluded in its statement on Tuesday that the pageant is moving forward — despite his comments. "While world politics and other influences will undoubtedly play a role, the pageant will always seek to transcend controversy," Miss USA told Us. "It is unfortunate that recent events beyond our control have only served to negatively impact the women who participate in the pageant, our state directors, our sponsors and our fans. We want our supporters to know we remain committed to them and we will be conducting the pageant, regardless of the current situation. We are moving forward, full-steam ahead as planned for the next two weeks, culminating in the crowning of a new Miss USA on July 12th."
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