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Thomas Roberts Quits Hosting Miss USA Pageant Over Donald Trump's Anti-Mexican Rant

Thomas Roberts Quits Hosting Miss USA Pageant Over Donald Trump's Anti-Mexican Rant


The billionaire's claim that Mexicans are criminals and rapists has cost him both broadcasting and business exposure, as NBC and Macy's cut ties.


Thomas Roberts announced he would no longer be hosting the Miss USA pageant, following Comcast NBCUniversal parting ways with Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump over anti-Mexican immigrant comments made during his campaign announcement speech.

The out gay news anchor made the news official Tuesday through an NBC spokesperson, and also alluded to his decision in a diplomatic tweet, saying:

Roberts's co-host Cheryl Burke, who stars in NBC's I Can Do That, also announced Tuesday that she quit hosting the July 12 pageant, saying in a Facebook post that she could "not in good conscience move forward with participating" after Trump's controversial remarks, according to the Associated Press.

And this is costing Trump more than just TV time. Macy's announced Wednesday it is pulling Donald Trump brand merchandise from its stores because of the public uproar, as first reported by CNN.

The department store chain has come under intense pressure to cut ties with the real estate magnate and businessman, including a petition that's already collected more than 730,000 signatures.

"Donald Trump does not reflect 'the magic of Macy's,'" wrote petition organizer Angelo Carusone, who started the "Dump Trump" movement in 2012 to protest Trump's "birther" theories about President Barack Obama. "Macy's says it has a strong obligation to be 'socially responsible' and that 'actions speak louder than words.' Indeed. It's time to act."

In a statement to CNN Wednesday, Macy's said the company "stands for diversity" and that it had no tolerance for discrimination:

"We are disappointed and distressed by recent remarks about immigrants from Mexico. We do not believe the disparaging characterizations portray an accurate picture of the many Mexicans, Mexican Americans and Latinos who have made so many valuable contributions to the success of our nation. In light of statements made by Donald Trump, which are inconsistent with Macy's values, we have decided to discontinue our business relationship with Mr. Trump and will phase-out the Trump menswear collection, which has been sold at Macy's since 2004."

Until now, Macy's carried a variety of Donald Trump brand attire, including dress shirts, neckties and cuff links. Trump has also appeared in Macy's commercials.

"The statement itself (from Macy's) basically confirms what we've been saying since day one: His brand, which is bigoted bullying, is inconsistent with Macy's brand," said Carusone. "There's a line between being very opinionated and expressing yourself and communicating that and being reckless and destructive."

Here are Trump's offensive statements, in their entirety, from his speech June 16:

"When do we beat Mexico at the border? They're laughing at us, at our stupidity. And now they are beating us economically. They are not our friend, believe me. But they're killing us economically. ...

"The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else's problems. When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people. ...

"I would build a great wall [at the U.S.-Mexico border], and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I'll build them very inexpensively, I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall."

The decision by Comcast NBCUniversal, Roberts and Burke follows Friday's move by Univision, and its Spanish-language hosts Roselyn Sanchez and Cristian De La Fuente, to drop out of broadcasting the pageant's first ever Spanish-language simulcast. Univision and its hosts cited "the work ethic, love for family, strong religious values and the important role Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans have had and will continue to have in building the future of our country."

TV networks have since begun dropping the now solely-Trump owned pageant, including Larry King Now producer Ora TV and Mexico's Televisa. On Tuesday, the Ricky Martin Foundation, created by the out Puerto Rican singer, also pulled its annual charitable golf tournament benefiting Latino students from a Trump-owned golf course, reports CBS. Martin publicly blasted Trump in a tweet in Spanish, saying the candidate's heart is filled with "hate and ignorance":

In response to the continued controversy, Trump has doubled-downed on his anti-immigrant remarks, telling Fox News's Bill O'Reilly Tuesday that they were "totally accurate," adding that "I love Mexican people... But Mexico is doing a tremendous number against us in trade. They're taking our jobs, they're taking our manufacturing, and they're taking our money."

Trump is by no means ignoring the backlash, filing a $500 million lawsuit on Tuesday against Univision for breach of contract, and declaring on Twitter that he would "always fight back when right." Univision called the suit "factually false and legally ridiculous" in a statement, saying,"[We] will continue to fight against Mr. Trump's ongoing efforts to run away from the derogatory comments he made." Trump has also threatened to sue NBC.

The Miss USA Pageant will now be aired in a livestream on the event's website, but Trump has not announced who will replace Roberts and Burke as co-hosts.

Roberts, notably, is a veteran of pageant controversy, opting in 2013 to host the Miss Universe pageant in Russia, despite the country's anti-gay laws.

Saying at the time that "boycotting and vilifying" the country for its government's homophobia was "too easy," he explained in an op-ed on MSNBC that, "Rather, I choose to offer my support to the LGBT community in Russia by going to Moscow and hosting this event as a journalist, an anchor, and a man who happens to be gay. Let people see I am no different than anyone else."

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