NEW YORK, June 25 (Reuters) - Univision, the largest Spanish language television network in the United States, said on Thursday it would not air the Miss USA pageant, which is co-owned by Donald Trump, because of what it called insulting remarks made by Trump about Mexican immigrants.
During his speech last week announcing his candidacy for the U.S. presidency, Trump accused Mexico of sending rapists and criminals to the United States.
"They're sending people that have lots of problems and they're bringing their problems," he said. "They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists, and some I assume are good people, but I speak to border guards and they tell us what we are getting."
Univision said it would also sever ties with the Miss Universe Organization, a joint venture between Trump and Comcast-owned NBCUniversal.
"Today, the entertainment division of Univision Communications Inc announced that it is ending the company's business relationship with the Miss Universe Organization, which is part-owned by Donald J. Trump, based on his recent, insulting remarks about Mexican immigrants," Univision said in a statement.
U.S. TV network NBC has the rights to broadcast the English-language version of the Miss USA pageant. Univision had planned to simulcast the event in Spanish for the first time.
In addition to nixing the pageant on July 12, Univision said it would not work with any projects tied to the Trump organization.
Trump is a billionaire real estate executive, TV personality and Republican presidential candidate, renowned for off-the-cuff comments.
On Thursday, an unrepentant Trump said the Mexican government had pressured Univision to sever ties with him because he had exposed problems on the southern U.S. border and in trade deals with the United States.
"Mexican leadership has been doing serious damage to the United States by out-negotiating our representatives and political leaders," Trump said in a statement.
"They are taking our jobs, taking our money and at the same time hurting us at the border with illegals from all over the world freely flowing into our country."
Univision said its local news division would continue to cover all candidates, including Trump, who are vying for the U.S. presidency.
New York-based Univision's Spanish-language network sometimes beats English-language broadcasters such as NBC in the primetime ratings.
Univision was taken private by a group of buyout firms, including Madison Dearborn Partners, Saban Capital, Providence Equity Partners, TPG Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners, for $12.3 billion in 2007. (Reporting by Patricia Reaney)