(Reuters) - Univision has asked a U.S. federal court to throw out a $500 million lawsuit filed by presidential candidate Donald Trump for the Spanish-language television network’s decision to end its contract to broadcast the Miss USA beauty pageant, which is owned in part by Trump.
Univision’s attorneys said in documents filed in the federal court in Manhattan on Friday that Trump’s complaint “fails to sufficiently plead critical elements of every claim asserted and should be dismissed.”
Attorneys for Trump could not immediately be reached for comment on Saturday.
Trump filed the lawsuit in June after Univision refused to air this year’s pageant, saying Trump had made insulting remarks about Mexican immigrants when he announced he was running for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. His lawsuit claimed breach of contract and defamation.
While officially announcing his candidacy on June 16, Trump accused Mexico of sending rapists and other criminals to the United States.
“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 tell us what we are getting,” he said at the time.
Univision, which has previously called Trump’s claims “both factually false and legally ridiculous,” said in the motion on Friday that Trump’s comments destroyed the value of the pageant’s broadcast rights.
“Trump offended millions during that announcement when he made disgraceful allegations about Mexican immigrants, whom, he claims, ‘Mexico sends’ across the border to America,” Univision’s attorneys said in the motion.
Univision’s attorneys said Trump’s comments relied on shock value to grab headlines for his presidential bid and “outraged Mexican Americans, Mexican immigrants, Hispanics, and other Americans of all backgrounds,” prompting at least 20 companies and the city of New York to terminate their business relationships with Trump and his brands in the weeks following the comments.
Univision said in late June in light of Trump’s comments that it would not air the pageant and would sever ties with the Miss Universe Organization, which runs the Miss USA pageant. Univision signed a five-year licensing agreement with Miss Universe for the exclusive right to air the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants in Spanish in the United States.
Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Greg Mahlich