According to The Hollywood Reporter, Miss USA owner and shrunken apple head Donald Trump has filed a $500 million lawsuit against Univision, accusing the network of breach of contract, defamation and—in a compulsory bit of Trumpian weirdness—trying to suppress his right to free speech.
“Under the contract, Univision is required to broadcast the [Miss USA] pageant live on television in Spanish,” Trump said in a statement. “While Univision claims its decision came solely in response to comments by Mr. Trump during a June 16, 2015 campaign speech announcing his candidacy for President of the United States, the decision was, in reality, a politically motivated attempt to suppress Mr. Trump’s freedom of speech under the First Amendment.”
On Thursday, the Spanish-language TV giant announced it would not air the pageant after Trump characterized Mexican immigrants as criminals, rapists and “some” good people. According to Trump’s lawyers, that move violated a $13.5 million licensing deal Univision signed with the Miss Universe Organization earlier this year. From The Hollywood Reporter:
“Simply stated, there is nothing in the Agreement which gives Univision the right to terminate its relationship with [the Miss Universe Organization],” states the complaint, which was filed in the New York State Supreme Court by Belkin Burden Wenig & Goldman’s Jeffrey Goldman.
The complaint includes claims of breach of contract and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. In a separate claim of intentional interference with contractual relations, Trump accuses Univision of “engaging in behind the scenes lobbying of their former colleagues” at NBC, leading the network to terminate its relationship with him. NBC’s termination of its relationship with Trump leaves the Miss USA Pageant with no English or Spanish broadcaster.
The lawsuit additionally accuses Univision of orchestrating a defamation campaign against the melted Creamsicle of a presidential candidate, including a since-deleted Instagram post by President of Programming Alberto Ciurana comparing Trump to accused Charleston shooter Dylann Roof.
“Mr. Ciurana’s post was picked up by the media and became the subject of hundreds, if not thousands, of press articles,” states the complaint, “yet another example of Univision’s dubious efforts to create a false narrative in an attempt to upset Mr. Trump’s longstanding personal and business relationship with the Hispanic community.”
In a statement to Politico, Univision largely dismissed Trump’s suit as a bad joke.
“We just reviewed Mr. Trump’s complaint for the first time, and it is both factually false and legally ridiculous,” a network spokesperson told the paper. “We will not only vigorously defend the case, but will continue to fight against Mr. Trump’s ongoing efforts to run away from the derogatory comments he made on June 16th about Mexican immigrants.”
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