Tuesday, June 30, 2015 | 3:56 p.m.
For the 2015 Miss USA Pageant contestants, including our 2015 Miss Nevada USA Brittany McGowan, who have just arrived in Baton Rouge, La., NBC’s decision not to broadcast the 3-hour competition Sunday, July 12, has suddenly enveloped their trip of a lifetime in confusion and controversy.
I talked with Brittany in advance of her leaving for Baton Rouge and how excited she was about competing on national television. NBC has pulled the broadcast, but the Miss USA Organization says that the pageant will continue:
“We are disheartened by recent events, but the show will go on. We operate as an independent company.”
NBC’s decision was in reaction to hotel mogul and pageant co-owner Donald Trump’s comments about Mexican immigrants in his political declaration of running for president in which he said that they brought crime, drugs and rapists to America:
“At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values. Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBC Universal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump.
“To that end, the annual Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, which are part of a joint venture between NBC and Trump, will no longer air on NBC.”
Beauty queens in Louisiana were in agreement with Miss Kansas, 19-year-old Alexis Railsback, a third-generation Mexican-American, who issued a statement:
“I think it’s really unfortunate and unfair that the Miss USA Pageant is taking the brunt for that speech. That’s a personal decision that he made to make that speech and to run for president, and I don’t think it is really related to the pageant in any way other than the fact that he is the co-owner.
“The Miss Universe Organization is a standalone company. Donald Trump is the co-owner, but he does not organize the pageant; he does not run what goes on.”
Their appeal has so far fallen on deaf ears at the Peacock Network. NBC became a co-owner with The Donald in the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants in 2002 after he bought them in 1996.
The Miss USA Pageant added: “We are built on a foundation of inclusion and continue to be a celebration of diversity and of all cultures. Our contestants represent many ethnic backgrounds, including six Latinas, four of whom are of Mexican descent. The pageant will always seek to transcend controversy.
“It is unfortunate that recent events beyond our control have only served to negatively impact the women who participate. We are moving forward full steam ahead as planned for the next two weeks culminating in the crowning of a new Miss USA on July 12.”
Robin Leach of “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous” fame has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past 15 years giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
Follow Las Vegas Sun Entertainment + Luxury Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.