The Miss USA pageant has selected several former winners to judge this year’s contest after its standing judges quit over controversial comments made by pageant co-owner Donald Trump.
Judges Emmitt Smith, Terrence Jenkins, and former Miss Universe Zuleyka Rivera all dropped out of the pageant in light of Trump’s reference to Mexican immigrants as “rapists” during his speech announcing his candidacy for president.
The new judges are, according to TMZ:
- Nana Meriwether: Miss USA 2012
– Leila Umenyiora: Miss Universe 2011
– Rima Fakih: Miss USA 2010
– Crystle Stewart: Miss USA 2008
– Tara Conner: Miss USA 2006
In a statement obtained by TheWrap, NBC announced it will no longer broadcast the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants — a joint venture between NBC and Trump. Additionally, the real estate mogul will not participate in the network’s reality competition, “The Celebrity Apprentice.”
Premium cable network Reelz stepped in and said it would broadcast the pageant, though TheWrap reported exclusively that the network paid “no more than $100,000” for the television rights.
Reelz CEO Stan E. Hubbard told TheWrap that the network “does not endorse Trump’s comments regarding Mexicans. Hubbard, whose father Stanley Hubbard is a regular donor to Republican political campaigns, added, “I am not a supporter of Donald Trump’s for president.”
Hubbard also responded to media reports that the pageant’s parent organization is actively pursuing a Latino host to join the broadcast. “I would love to see that, but I don’t know if that’s in the cards or not.”