#SaveTheSash for Miss USA 2015

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For Immediate Release

#SaveTheSash Supporters Celebrate Victory for Miss USA Pageant Broadcast More than 11,000 Signed Petition to Air the July 12 Telecast



MINNEAPOLIS, July 2, 2015 – Earlier this week, a #SaveTheSash grassroots social-media campaign gathered momentum to convince NBC Universal to reconsider the media giant's decision to cancel the 2015 Miss USA telecast. As part of the movement, Travis Stanton, a self-described "lifelong pageant fan" from Rochester, MN, began a petition on Change.org to "#SavetheSash and Crown Miss USA 2015 on NBC." In just over 24 hours, the petition generated more than 10,000 signatures, a Twitter account (@SaveTheSash) was created, and people from around the globe signed and shared the petition. With more than 11,000 signatures, the petition closed today, following an announcement that REELZ will be broadcasting the July 12 pageant.

NBC has long broadcast the annual Miss USA and Miss Universe Pageants as part of a joint venture between NBC and Donald Trump, but 2the network cancelled the scheduled July 12 broadcast in reaction to racially charged comments made by Trump.

"NBC's decision to cancel this telecast was going to hurt Trump far less than it would have hurt the hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent victims who do not share his opinions," said Stanton. "The move was going to rob the 51 contestants of their chance to be on national TV. But it was also going to negatively impact the sponsors and the city of Baton Rouge. It would have hurt small business owners, including state directors who produce the state pageants to select and support the 51 national contestants."

"As a Latina, I am very deeply offended by Trump's derogatory statements regarding immigration, and I absolutely do not support him in any way. I do, however, support my fellow pageant sisters," said Alicia Monique Blanco, who represented the state of Arizona at the 2009 Miss USA pageant. "As a former titleholder, I know how hard these women have worked to prepare for the telecast, and how devastated many of them must have felt when NBC announced the cancellation of the broadcast. These women deserve to showcase their beauty, strong work ethic, and — most of all — their diversity. The Miss USA pageant has built a community of empowerment, and is a beloved tradition for many, many people. I'm glad REELZ agreed that it shouldn't end because of just one person's opinions."

"Donald Trump is a businessman, and his opinions are his own," said Miss USA 1995 and Executive Director of the Miss Nevada USA pageant, Shanna Moakler. "I have my own personal opinions, as I have a daughter of Mexican descent, and my mother's family emigrated here from Portugal. But, this pageant is about far more than Donald Trump. There are so many people who have worked all year long to prepare these girls for this experience. Each contestant earned an opportunity to compete on the nationally televised Miss USA pageant when she won her state title, and I'm thrilled and relieved this year's contestants will still get that opportunity."

Following NBC's cancellation, the Miss Universe Organization announced the pageant would still take place, as scheduled, on July 12. But prior to this morning's announcement that REELZ will air the event, the organization had announced that pageant viewing would have only been visible through online streaming, if NBC or another network did not come forward to air the live event.

"The telecast itself is important because it puts these girls, their achievements, and their platforms on a national stage, providing them unparalleled exposure," said Stanton. "In many ways, pageants like the Miss USA pageant are the original reality TV shows, and we all know reality TV provides opportunities for participants. The Miss USA telecast has been opening doors to young women for 50 years, since it first aired in 1965 on CBS. It would have been a tragedy to allow the comments of one man to slam those doors in the faces of this year's contestants."

While Mexican Americans were the target of Mr. Trump's comments, there are six Latina contestants preparing to compete in the event in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Reigning Miss USA Nia Sanchez is also of Mexican American heritage, and had previously posted a #SaveTheSash video sharing her own comments in support of the Miss USA program.

"Together with the 11,000 #SavetheSash supporters, I am extremely grateful REELZ and the Miss Universe Organization found a way to keep the televised tradition alive," said Stanton. "We're thrilled to have played a small role in making a big statement that this pageant is still relevant, that NBC's decision was unfair to this year's contestants, and that the Miss USA pageant is an institution that must continue. Today, the #SavetheSash hashtag is being usurped by a new, more appropriate one: #REELZtotheRescue."

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This article was written by Will the Pageant Guy

I'm the Guy at thePageantGuy.com