Miss USA Co-Hosts Cheryl Burke and Thomas Roberts Step Down in Wake of Donald Trump Controversy

Their exits come one day after NBC pulled the upcoming pageant, which is set for July 12.
AP Images/Invision

Miss USA is in need of a few new co-hosts.

Cheryl Burke and MSNBC's Thomas Roberts, who were set to co-host the annual pageant, stepped down Tuesday, one day after NBC pulled the program.

"In light of the recent statements made by Donald Trump and the subsequent decision by NBC to cut ties with Mr. Trump, I cannot in good conscience move forward with participating in this year’s Miss USA Pageant as its co-host," said Burke in a statement. "Effective today I have withdrawn from my duties with Miss USA. Although I will not be there in person, I wish all of the contestants much luck as I know how hard they’ve all been working over the last year to try and realize their dreams."

Roberts did not issue a statement, but an NBC spokesperson confirmed he was withdrawing. Roberts, who also co-hosted the 2014 pageant, sent out a short tweet after news of his departure broke.

 

 

Burke and Roberts' departures follow Roselyn Sanchez and Cristian de la Fuente, who were scheduled to co-host the Spanish simulcast, but both departed last week.

NBC announced Monday that it had ended its business relationship with Trump and his Miss Universe Organization, and no longer would be airing Miss USA or Miss Universe. In a statement, the network cited Trump's "recent derogatory statements" about immigrants. Before NBC, Univision Communications announced it was cutting the program, and all ties to Trump, on Thursday.

The Miss USA Pageant was scheduled to air live on NBC from Baton Rouge, La., on July 12. The network had aired Miss USA, as well as Miss Universe, for the past 11 years and was in the middle of a five-year agreement with the Miss Universe Organization. Instead, NBC will air American Ninja Warrior's annual "USA vs. the World" competition.

Trump released a lengthy statement Monday in which he called NBC "weak" and "foolish." He also said that NBC's "contract violating closure of Miss Universe/Miss USA will be determined in court."

The Miss Universe Organization said in a statement late Monday that the Miss USA Pageant would continue as usual. "We are disheartened by recent events but the show will go on," read the statement.

"The Miss Universe Organization is built on a foundation of inclusion and continues to be a celebration of diversity and of all cultures," it continued. "This year's Miss USA contestants represent many different ethnic backgrounds, including six Latinas (four of whom are of Mexican descent)."

The controversy dates back to Trump's widely criticized June 16 speech announcing his run for president in which he referred to Mexican immigrants as "rapists."

"The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems. ... When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best," said Trump. "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."

June 30, 1:13 p.m. Updated to reflect Roberts' withdrawal.

comments powered by Disqus