Latino Advocacy Groups Blast Reelz for Picking Up Donald Trump's Miss USA: "Disgusting" Opportunism
Heads of the National Hispanic Media Coalition and National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts aren't happy about the pageant's new home, which NHFA co-founder Felix Sanchez called a "bottom-tier" outlet.
Thursday's news that the Miss USA pageant, presented by the Donald Trump co-owned Miss Universe Organization, had found a new broadcast home on Reelz Channel was met with disappointment from at least two prominent Hispanic groups.
National Hispanic Media Coalition president and CEO Alex Nogales slammed the network for picking up the pageant in light of Trump's controversial comments about Mexican immigrants — remarks that led the pageant's original broadcast homes of Univision and NBC to end their business relationships with Trump.
"It's kind of disgusting that these people should under the circumstances be opportunistic and commit to carrying the program," Nogales told The Hollywood Reporter of Reelz. "I'm disappointed that they, given … the racism involved, I'm disappointed that they would choose to pick up the pageant, and we will see what can be done about it."
Nogales said that his group hasn't yet decided on a course of action since the news was just announced Thursday morning. "We will have a conversation with our allies later today, and we will agree on a course of action," he added.
Meanwhile, National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts chairman and co-founder Felix Sanchez, a member of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, told THR that Reelz's relatively smaller audience makes this a different situation than if the pageant were airing on a broadcast network like NBC or Univision.
"It was inevitable that somebody would step up and want to air this pageant," Sanchez said. "But it's clear that it's going to be on a very marginal cable channel, where the likelihood of it garnering viewers is going to be quite minimal. Between airing there and a public [access] channel, it's very little difference."
He went on to call Reelz, which reaches 67 million homes through cable and pay TV providers, "not really even a third-tier but a very-bottom-tier opportunity for viewing."
"We're certainly not in favor of it," Sanchez said of Reelz airing the pageant. "But I don't think it will have much of an impact."
Both organizations had urged NBC to cut its ties with the Miss Universe Organization, which is a joint venture between Trump and NBCUniversal, before the network announced Tuesday that it was ending its business relationship with Trump.
Trump has been under fire lately for referring to Mexican immigrants as "rapists" and people bringing crime and drugs into the U.S., comments he made in his June 16 speech announcing his presidential candidacy.