Billionaire Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has a new foe: the Spanish-language broadcast television network Univision.
On Thursday, the mogul announced that he plans to sue the network for defamation after one of its executives used an Instagram post to compare Trump to Dylann Roof, the man accused of shooting nine black people in a church in Charleston, S.C.
“They put a picture of me up next to that horrible human being who killed nine people," Mr. Trump said in an interview with The Daily Caller. “You know what that picture’s going to cost them? It’s going to cost them a fortune.”
Trump first attracted Univision’s ire after the presidential candidate made some remarks about Mexican immigrants that the network, and many Latinos across social media, found insulting, the Monitor reported Thursday.
The network promptly decided to cancel its airing of the Miss USA beauty pageant, which Trump co-owns.
“We will not be airing the Miss USA pageant on July 12 or working on any other projects tied to the Trump Organization,” Univision wrote in a statement released to Entertainment Weekly.
The announcement led Trump to threaten to sue the network for breach of contract.
But it wasn’t until Alberto Ciurana, president of programming and content for Univision networks, posted a picture of Trump next to a picture of Mr. Roof that the tycoon threatened to sue for defamation.
“I think he should be ashamed of himself. He immediately deleted it and the lawyers are going to have a field day,” Trump told Fox news.
But the uproar over the Instagram post doesn’t appear to be detracting from the backlash against Trump’s anti-immigration comments.
Actors Roselyn Sanchez and Cristian de la Fuente, the two Latino stars set to co-host the Spanish-language simulcast of the Miss USA pageant, also announced that they were pulling out of the project, CNN reported.
"I was very excited and proud to have been invited to participate in Miss USA, but as a Latina, that is now inconceivable," Ms. Sanchez in a statement.
"Although I am not Mexican, I am Puerto Rican and a proud Latina, and his comments were an insult to our culture. I won't sponsor anything produced by Donald Trump."
The news channel NBC also released a statement publicly distancing itself from Trump’s comments.
During his speech at the New York-based Trump Tower to announce his run for president, Trump asked:
"When do we beat Mexico at the border?" And then went on to say: "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.”
Univision is the biggest Spanish-language broadcaster in the United States.