Pageant winners decry NBC’s decision as Trump takes legal action

Some former pageant winners are criticizing NBC for refusing to air next week’s Miss USA pageant, saying the cancellation of the competition is unfair to the women participating in the pageant.

Miss USA 2005 Chelsea Cooley Altman told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren NBC’s decision not to air the pageant, which was made after it cut all business ties with Donald Trump citing remarks he made about immigrants from Mexico during his presidential run announcement, is absurd.

“It’s absolutely absurd that [NBC] would want to pull the plug on all these contestants. Not to mention the contestants and their families, but think about the hundreds of workers that work tirelessly behind the scenes with the Miss Universe Organization and everyone that’s contracted out to pull this show off. It is a big ordeal to produce a live show, the Super Bowl of pageantry. So it’s not just affecting Donald Trump, it’s affecting a lot of other people and I just don’t think it’s fair.”

Miss New York USA 2013 Joanne Nosuchinsky, who is a co-host on Fox News Channel’s “Red Eye,” added that not having the pageant air could reduce the career opportunities for the top contestants.

“Career-wise a lot of these girls would love to work in broadcast or as hosts or have modeling careers and this really is a platform where they get to be seen by the nation” Nosuchinsky told Van Susteren. “So it could really launch their careers and now they won’t have that opportunity.”

She said she doesn’t believe the pageant should be affected by the fallout from Trump’s comments.

“People say insensitive things sometimes, it happens,” she surmised. “But I don’t think that the legacy of Miss USA should be tarnished because of it.”

Altman suggested perhaps NBC did not consider the pageant world’s reaction when it decided to pull Miss USA from the air, following the creation of a petition to do so that garnered more than 200,000 signatures.

“I think that NBC really has to take into consideration the type of community that they are dealing with when it comes the pageant world. In America alone, every year there is over 700,000 pageants that take place which equates to 4 million contestants every single year. So I understand that people signed a petition wanting to pull the pageant off air but 200,000 people versus 4 million pageant contestants in the United States alone – it’s a little bit different hit when you look at the numbers.”

Meanwhile, Trump has chimed in with legal action to match his trademark brashness, filing a $500 million lawsuit against Univision for dropping the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants.

The suit against Univision for dropping the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants claims breach of contract, defamation and First Amendment violations, and contends Univision turned on him because it supports Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton for president.

On Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor" Tuesday, Trump also blasted Univision for what he said was abandoning the women involved in Miss USA, and he pledged that the show would go on.

"We have 50 of the most-lovely women you have ever seen right now in Louisiana, and they have been abandoned by NBC and abandoned by Univision and I'm going to work it out so that that [the] show goes on," Trump told Fox News' O'Reilly.

In a statement, Univision called Trump's lawsuit "factually false and legally ridiculous." It said it will "continue to fight against Mr. Trump's ongoing efforts to run away from the derogatory comments he made."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Four4Four: Chrissy Teigen wants everyone to see her nipples