National Latino groups praised the announcement Monday that NBC was ending its business relationship with Republican presidential hopeful and businessman Donald Trump over his controversial comments about Mexico and Mexicans.
“Obviously we are ecstatic that NBC is parting ways with Donald Trump and feel this is the right thing to do and glad they are ending their relationship,” said Felix Sanchez, who co-founded the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts with actor Jimmy Smits.
Sanchez said NBC’s decision “reflects the power of the changing demographic."
"In three days, 200,000 people had signed the petition on Change.org asking NBC to sever its ties, and the momentum of these actions were finally bearing fruit," said Sanchez. "People understood hate speech when it came to the Confederate flag, hate speech when it came to marriage equality and hate speech when it came to defaming 54 million Latinos,” he said.
In a June 16 appearance announcing his presidential bid, Trump said "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending the best. They're not sending you, they're sending people that have lots of problems and they're bringing those problems...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're telling us what we're getting."
The remarks were swiftly criticized by Mexican-Americans and Latinos around the country, including organizations and groups. On June 25th Univision ended its business deal with the Miss Universe organization, which is part-owned by Trump and NBC, and said it would not air the Miss USA pageant in Spanish. Latino artists like Roselyn Sanchez and J. Balvin said they would not perform because of the comments.
In recent days a consortium of more than 30 Latino groups publicly asked NBC to drop its deal with Trump.
Alex Nogales, president and CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, said he met on Friday with NBC corporate officials over Trump's comments and NBC's association with Trump.
"Bravo," Nogales said in a statement in response to NBC's decision. "It is good to have media partners with a conscience who understand that doing business with people like Trump is not only unconscionable, but also would harm relationships with the Latino community and other fair-minded non-Latinos."
NBC released a statement on Monday, saying "respect and dignity for all people" were cornerstones of the company's values.
"Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump."
In addition to a partnership on the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, Trump starred in the reality show "The Apprentice" for which he is known for firing contestants with the words "You're Fired!"
Sanchez, who is Puerto Rican, quickly posted her reaction on Instagram after the news broke.