A multi-million dollar business fleecing over the 2007 Miss Universe pageant in Mexico City may be a root factor in the nasty tirade Donald Trump leveled at Mexican immigrants in his US presidential campaign announcement.
On Wednesday, the Macy's department store chain became the latest company to dump Trump over what company officials called "disparaging characterizations" that offended Mexicans, Mexican Americans, millions of US Latinos, and "anyone with decency," as several social-media commenters have put it.
Macy's said it would be phasing out the Trump menswear line in its stores, resulting in unknown losses for the real-estate tycoon and reality TV show host. Macy's has sold Trump-branded men's clothing since 2004.
The announcement adds to a string of high-profile business breakups for Trump since he declared Mexico "sends" rapists and criminals to the United States on June 16, in a candidacy announcement that reportedly included actor extras paid $50 to be there. (Most remained conspicuously silent during Trump's anti-Mexican statements.)
The broken deals will cost Trump an estimated $78.5 million — at least. These include break-ups with a television company belonging to world's second-richest person Carlos Slim, and the media behemoths of Televisa, NBCUniversal, and Univision, the leading broadcaster in any language in the United States.
And the list only shows signs of growing. In the capital of Trump's business empire, New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday the city was reviewing its business relationships with the mogul.
Trump is currently holding a second-place spot among Republican presidential hopefuls, according to state-level polls.
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The brunt of the media break-ups have centered on the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants that Trump partially owns, and which would have aired live on NBC in English and on Univision in Spanish before both outlets canceled. Trump has sued Univision for $500 million.
The Miss USA pageant takes place in 10 days in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but currently does not have a broadcasting slot at all, and will be streamed online, pageant president Paula Shugart told Entertainment Weekly.
Several hosts and performers who were expected to take part in the telecast have also bowed out over Trump's statements.
The current Miss Universe, Paulina Vega, is Colombian, but has remained silent on the Trump controversy. But her country's capital city, Bogotá, declared earlier this week it will be withdrawing itself from consideration to host the next international pageant.
"Today it's for the Mexicans, but tomorrow it could be for Colombians, or all Latinos in general, and so we are going to withdraw Bogotá's candidacy," Tatiana Piñeros, head of the city's tourism institute, said on Tuesday.
That same day, Lupita Jones, the first ever Mexican Miss Universe, said the country will not be sending a contestant to the next pageant in 2016.
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The relationship between Mexico and the Miss Universe pageant may be a root of Trump's stated disdain for the US southern neighbor.
In 2006, Trump entered a $6.5 million agreement with a Mexican businessman named Pedro Rodriguez to bring the pageant to Mexico City. According to a report in Bloomberg Politics, Rodriguez paid Trump $1 million upfront, then offered a group of properties owned by another businessman as collateral for the rest of the amount.
After the pageant was held at the National Auditorium in Mexico City in 2007, the Mexican partners never paid the balance, and Trump has been fighting in Mexico's courts to get his millions ever since.
I have a lawsuit in Mexico's corrupt court system that I won but so far can't collect. Don't do business with Mexico!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)February 24, 2015
The Trump Organization won the dispute in arbitration, but has been unable to force the Mexican defendants to pay, Bloomberg reported. The Trump legal team says that with interest and legal fees, Trump is now owed $12 million in Mexico.
"I have a lawsuit in Mexico's corrupt court system that I won but so far can't collect. Don't do business with Mexico!" the mogul tweeted on February 24.
The Academy Awards happened that night, and Mexican artists won awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Cinematography for the film "Birdman." Trump wasn't having it.
"The Oscars were a great night for Mexico & why not—they are ripping off the US more than almost any other nation," he tweeted.
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Gabriela Gorbea contributed to this report. Follow Daniel Hernandez on Twitter @longdrivesouth.