Mexico City, Mexico (AFP) — Mexico has dropped out of the Miss Universe pageant over co-owner and US presidential candidate Donald Trump’s “racist” remarks about Mexican migrants, as Latino anger toward the outspoken tycoon boils over.
Trump’s comments about migrants have outraged Latin Americans and the Hispanic community in the United States.
Losing a Latin American contestant is a big setback for Miss Universe as the pageant is hugely popular in the region, where victory is a source of national pride that can spark street celebrations.
The governments of Mexico and Venezuela have both lacerated Trump. While Venezuelans are weighing their participation in Miss Universe, Mexico has pulled the plug.
“It’s a shame that because of his racist comments we lose what the contest has promoted and represented during so many years, which is an atmosphere of harmony and peace among nations,” former Miss Universe and Nuestra Belleza Mexico pageant director Lupita Jones wrote on Twitter late Monday.
On Tuesday, she told Radio Imaginen: “Beyond a beauty contest, a crown, what’s important is to protest in some way to defend the pride and name of all Mexicans.”
Colombian pop star Shakira joined the chorus, writing on Twitter that Trump’s comments were a “hateful and racist” attempt to divide Americans.
US television giant NBC, which co-owns the pageant, and Mexican broadcaster Televisa both announced on Monday that they were severing ties with Trump, meaning they will not air the show.
Trump hit back at Spanish-language US channel Univision on Tuesday, filing a $500 million lawsuit over the company’s decision not to broadcast the July 12 Miss USA pageant.
In a rambling campaign announcement on June 16, Trump lashed out at Mexico and Mexican migrants, saying that they were bringing drugs, crime and “rapists” to the United States.
The Mexican government denounced Trump’s remarks as “prejudiced and absurd,” while Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called the real estate mogul a “thief.”