Univision has found itself at the center of a growing controversy after a recent interview with former President Trump that critics have blasted as too friendly.
The interview that aired Nov. 9 was noticeably warm, and Trump received little pushback as he gave false or misleading statements on border security and immigration policies he instituted as president.
Backlash from certain corners of the Latino community was swift, including calls for more balanced reporting and an outright boycott of the television network ahead of the 2024 election.
Latinos are considered a crucial voting bloc — and largely up for grabs — in next year's election, likely to be a rematch between Trump and President Biden. Although Latino voters have historically favored Democrats, the Republican Party in recent years has made significant progress in courting their votes.
The exclusive interview with Trump therefore raised significant alarms within the Democratic Party and its allies that the leading Republican candidate was making unchecked claims to important swing voters.
Actor John Leguizamo posted a video to his 1 million Instagram followers Thursday criticizing the Spanish-language media company for "softballing Trump" and reportedly canceling ads for Biden. He said the television network has become "MAGA-vision."
He implored fellow entertainers, athletes, activists and politicians to join him in boycotting the network until it reinstated “parity, and equality and equity” between the presidential candidates. The television network has also requested an interview with Biden, according to the Washington Post.
The more-than-hourlong interview with Trump was conducted by Enrique Acevedo, an anchor from Mexican network Televisa who is not a Univision journalist. The two media groups merged last year. Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner reportedly helped organize the interview.
“All you have to do is look at the owners of Univision,” Trump said in the first few minutes of the interview when asked about Latino voters and recent polls showing him defeating Biden in 2024. “They’re unbelievable entrepreneurial people, and they like me.”
"They want to see security," Trump added. "They want to have a border."
During the interview, Trump made questionable claims that the partial wall built along the southern border was made possible by Mexico providing thousands of soldiers "free of charge," and that former President Obama laid the groundwork for the controversial policy at the border to deter illegal crossings that became known as the family-separation crisis. Acevedo did not push back on either claim.
“It wasn’t just a friendly interview. It was an embarrassing 1-hour puff-piece with lots of smiles and no pushback with a guy who relished in attacking, belittling and otherizing Latinos and Latin American immigrants,” Ana Navarro-Cárdenas, a prominent Nicaraguan American political strategist and commentator, said on the platform X, the company formerly known as Twitter.
León Krauze, a veteran news anchor for Univision, has since resigned from the network. He did not provide a reason for his departure.
State Sen. Susan Rubio (D-Baldwin Park), a member of the California Latino Legislative Caucus who is running for Congress, said she knew many other Latino leaders who were “personally upset” about the interview.
Rubio said she was “appalled” at how the former president “was allowed to just continue to spew lies and go unchecked” during the conversation. She called the interview "an insult to our entire Latino community."
The network is “absolutely influential” in households like hers, she said, describing it as a news source she and her Spanish-speaking parents view as trusted and unbiased.
“Our community relies on this information to be truthful. They rely on this source that has been trusted by the Latino community for many, many generations," she said. "They should have done a better job of making sure that our community is not lied to.”