Calling a $500 million Donald Trump lawsuit "beyond frivolous," Univision has struck back at claims by the Republican presidential candidate that it unjustly broke a contract with him to broadcast beauty pageants.
Univision lawyers filed papers Friday asking a federal judge in Manhattan to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Trump in July.
Univision argues that Trump destroyed the value of the network's rights to broadcast the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants when he made "inflammatory comments" about Hispanics during his June 16 announcement of a presidential campaign.
"Trump offended millions during that announcement when he made disgraceful allegations about Mexican immigrants, whom, he claims, `Mexico sends' across the border to America," the lawyers wrote.
They said his remarks "outraged Mexican Americans, Mexican immigrants, Hispanics, and other Americans of all backgrounds," and prompted at least 20 companies and the city of New York to terminate business relationships with Trump and his brand in the weeks after the announcement.
Trump's lawsuit claimed breach of contract, defamation and First Amendment violations.
Matthew Maron, an attorney for Trump, said Univision's attempt to dismiss the suit is "laughable."
"Univision can try to distract the court and the public from the real issues in dispute all it wants. The fact remains that Univision willfully breached their contract, acted in bad faith and caused my clients to suffer significant damages," Maron said. "For this, Univision will pay in the end."
Univision lawyers noted that the network was the leading media company serving Hispanic America when Trump delivered "extreme and controversial opinions on race and national origin."
"Through his diatribe, Trump destroyed the value of those broadcast rights, and neither Trump nor Miss Universe did anything to repair the damage in the aftermath of his speech," Univision's lawyers wrote.
In January, Univision signed a five-year license agreement for the exclusive right to air the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants in Spanish in the United States.
Univision announced on June 25 that it was ending its business relationship with the pageants.