Prominent Latino advocacy groups and members of Congress are voicing their discontent with Univision, the largest Spanish-language media company in the US, for their recent interview with former President Donald Trump.
A letter of protest was sent to Univision’s executives by more than 70 organizations, including UnidosUS Action and America’s Voice, condemning the network’s handling of the interview and urging a thorough internal review and commitment to unbiased reporting.
Actor and comedian John Leguizamo also called for a boycott of Univision until it ceased its rejection of Biden ads. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus is preparing to request a meeting with Univision to discuss the network’s journalistic standards.
The backlash stems from the interview with Trump at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida, where Univision executives attended alongside Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. The interview was criticized for its friendly tone, lack of follow-up questions, and Trump’s assertion that the network’s owners liked him.
This contrasted sharply with the historically tense relationship between Trump and Univision. The network had recently implemented a policy of preventing opposition advertising during single-candidate interviews while canceling a booking with a Biden spokeswoman to respond to the interview on a subsequent news broadcast.
León Krauze, a top anchor at Univision in Miami who hosted the late-night newscast, announced his sudden departure from the network, leaving many curious about the reasons behind the split. Joaquin Blaya, a former president of Univision, expressed concern over the network’s departure from its founding mission and likened the Trump interview to “Mexican-style news coverage” that blurred the line between business and journalism. Blaya, who also ran Telemundo, felt that the interview was an embarrassment and step back for Univision, particularly since Mexican media company Grupo Televisa recently merged with Univision’s owners.
Wade Davis, an executive from TelevisaUnivision who attended the Mar-a-Lago meeting, sent a note to US staff addressing the controversy. He emphasized their goal of covering candidates from all political parties and providing comprehensive access to information for Hispanics.
However, more than 70 organizations signed a letter to Davis and other executives, deeming the interview a betrayal of trust and demanding a thorough internal review and reaffirmation of Univision’s commitment to unbiased reporting.
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus is also drafting a letter to Univision, expressing interest in discussing the network’s journalistic standards and combatting disinformation in the Latino community.
Isaac Lee, former chief news officer at Univision during the 2016 campaign, expressed confidence in the journalists at Univision Miami to cover the upcoming presidential race appropriately.
Despite the criticism, Lee believes that the interview conducted by Enrique Acevedo, a Mexico City-based anchor for Televisa, does not determine how the campaign will be covered or how Latinos will receive their information.
However, Latino organizations and politicians are urging Univision to address their concerns and uphold their role as a credible network that informs an important electorate.