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NBC cuts ties with Donald Trump over immigrant comments

After firing many a reality hopeful on NBC's "The Apprentice," billionaire Donald Trump has himself been sacked by the network. NBC ended its relationship with Trump over his "derogatory statements" on immigrants.

NBC will no longer air Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, which had been a joint venture between the company and Trump, the American network announced on Monday. In addition, Trump will not appear on the reality show "The Apprentice," which is currently on hiatus.

"At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values," the company said in a statement, adding cutting business ties with Trump was due to "recent derogatory statements" on Mexican immigrants.

Trump made his controversial remarks last week, while

announcing his bid for the US presidency

on the ticket of the Republican Party.

"When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best," he said, in a widely publicized speech.

"They're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people," Trump was quoted by NBC as saying.

During his speech, Trump also said that Mexico was "not our friend" and called for building a wall along the southern border of the United States.

Thousands sign online petition

After Trump's remarks, NBC faced enormous pressure to distance themselves from the real estate mogul, with an online petition gathering more then 218,000 signatures.

"A large part of your audience is Hispanic and we watch NBC, NBC News and Telemundo," said the man who posted the petition, Guillermo Castaneda, Jr, referring to

NBC's sister network

. "How about looking out for us?"

The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, which consists out of 39 Latino advocacy organizations, also requested that NBC end their cooperation with the outspoken billionaire.

"Celebrity Apprentice" without its biggest celebrity?

Commenting the NBC move on Monday, Trump said he is considering suing the network.

"NBC is weak, and like everybody else is trying to be politically correct. That is why our country is in serious trouble," he said in a statement issued by his company in New York.

The next edition of Miss USA was set to air on NBC on July 12, and the company has not yet decided what will be broadcast its place, network representatives said. NBC also said that it was exploring ways to air future seasons of the reality series "Celebrity Apprentice" without Trump.

dj/jr (Reuters, AP)

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