Emmit Smith will not serve as a judge during this year’s Miss USA Pageant, TheWrap has confirmed.
The former NFL player has joined a growing list of people distancing themselves from the annual beauty pageant in the wake of controversial comments made by Donald Trump, the pageant’s co-owner and producer.
“In light of Mr. Trump’s statements and the subsequent decisions made by NBC, I have decided not to participate as a judge in the 2015 Miss USA pageant,” Smith said in a statement obtained by TheWrap. “Knowing firsthand through my wife, Pat, how much the women prepare for this event, I continue to send my support and best wishes to everyone competing this year.”
In addition, MSNBC host Robert Thomas and Cheryl Burke recently announced they would not host the pageant as planned.
The comments, made during Trump’s presidential campaign announcement last week, included controversial observations about Mexicans, whom he said are “laughing at us, at our stupidity” over what he characterized as a weak border policy.
“When Mexico sends its people … 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 said.
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.”
“At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values,” the network said in a statement. “Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump.”