By Alexandra Steigrad
with contributions from David Moin
 on June 29, 2015

Donald Trump’s recent controversial comments about Mexican immigrants in his presidential campaign kick-off speech last week has stirred a petition calling for Macy’s to sever ties with the candidate’s label.

Nearly 700,000 people signed a moveon.org petition for Macy’s to drop Trump’s line on Monday. There was no word from Macy’s executives on the Trump brouhaha, though it could pose a conflict for the $28 billion department store. Macy’s sells Trump men’s wear, including shirts, ties and suits exclusively, as well as the Trump signature Success fragrance, and has put Trump in its advertising. At the same time, Macy’s is seeking to target Latinas more closely, particularly with its Thalia private brand, which when launched last February, represented Macy’s biggest private brand launch to date. Thalia, the Mexican soap opera actress and songstress, is enormously popular with Latinas around the world.

In his speech last week, Trump said the U.S. is a “dumping ground” for Mexico’s criminals and rapists, which prompted NBCUniversal to sever its ties with the businessman on Monday after pressure from the Hispanic community and a change.org petition with more than 200,000 signatures. While NBC, which jointly owned the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants with Trump, indicated it would end that relationship, it did not make any decisions about “Celebrity Apprentice,” Trump’s reality show. Although Trump said he wouldn’t host that show, as he is now running for president.

“If NBC is so weak and so foolish to not understand the serious illegal immigration problem with the United States, coupled with the horrendous and unfair trade deals we are making with Mexico, then their contract violating closure of the Miss Universe/Miss USA will be determined in court,” Trump punched back via Instagram on Monday.

One company that was quick to drop Trump was hair-care manufacturer Farouk Systems Inc., which sponsored Miss USA, Miss Universe and Miss Teen USA pageants. Farouk chief executive officer Basim Shami said the firm wouldn’t be involved with “Celebrity Apprentice” either, adding: “ Our company is multicultural with people of Latin American descent making up a large percentage of our employees and loyal customers. As a company proudly founded on the concept of coming to the USA in pursuit of the American Dream, Mr. Trump’s comments do not and will never reflect our company’s philosophy or practices.”

The Trump firestorm was ignited last week when Univision said it would not air the Miss USA Pageant, which will take place next month.

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