Donald Trump and Univision Settle Lawsuit Over Miss USA Pageant
It took almost eight months, but Donald Trump and Univision have settled their legal dispute over the Spanish-language broadcaster’s decision last summer to cancel plans to air the Miss USA pageant.
Univision and the Trump Organization issued a joint statement Thursday afternoon announcing the settlement of dueling lawsuits, noting that “the terms of the settlement are confidential.” The legal fracas started last June, when Univision and Comcast’s (CMCSA) NBC both cancelled plans to air the Miss USA pageant in the wake of derogatory comments Trump made about Mexican immigrants in a press conference announcing his presidential campaign. (At the time, Trump was co-owner of the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants with NBCUniversal.)
Trump quickly sued both NBC and Univision, seeking $500 million in a lawsuit against the latter that accused Univision of breach of contract and defamation. NBC and Trump later reached their own settlement, which included an agreement for Trump to buy the remainder of the pageants’ owner, the Miss Universe Organization, which he then sold to the WME/IMG talent agency last September.
For its part, Univision responded to Trump’s lawsuit with a motion to dismiss Trump’s lawsuit in December, claiming in a court filing that Trump’s derogatory remarks had “destroyed the value” of the broadcast rights secured in the company’s five-year, $13.5 million deal to air the pageants.
While the lawsuit has dragged on amid delays, the two sides have seen their squabble play out in the public eye on more than one occasion, including when Trump kicked Univision anchor Jorge Ramos out of an Iowa news conference in August after Ramos tried asking a tough question on immigration. In another case, Trump’s campaign reportedly turned away a Univision press crew from a Florida event, after which a campaign spokeswoman told reporters that Trump’s lawsuit against Univision created “a conflict of interest” for the journalists.
However, the two sides seem to have worked through their differences, as both Trump and Univision CEO Randy Falco issued statements on Thursday noting their long working relationship. “I have known Donald Trump for many years in both a personal and professional capacity and we are pleased to settle this matter and move forward,” Falco said in a statement. Trump said that he and Falco have known each other for two decades, adding that he is “glad we are able to put these differences behind us.”
A lot has changed since last summer, with Trump currently the Republican party’s frontrunner following a surprising rise to the top of the GOP ranks that recently culminated in his winning the New Hampshire primary. As Fortune has reported, Trump’s business has taken some hits since his campaign began, with a long list of former corporate partners distancing themselves from the firebrand real estate mogul turned politician, but his polling numbers are still strong.
Meanwhile, Univision had to postpone plans for an IPO in December as investors got cold feet with regard to media stocks, many of which took a beating last year due to concerns over cord-cutting and the uncertain future of the television industry.