Former ‘Apprentice’ producer claims Trump used the n-word while discussing Black contestant

A former producer on The Apprentice claims that former President Donald Trump used a racial slur during a recorded discussion about a Black contestant potentially winning the show’s first season.

Bill Pruitt was one of four producers during the first two seasons of the NBC reality TV show. Writing for Slate, he says the non-disclosure agreement he signed at the time expired this year, allowing him to speak out at long last.

“By carefully misleading viewers about Trump—his wealth, his stature, his character, and his intent—the competition reality show set about an American fraud that would balloon beyond its creators’ wildest imaginations,” he writes.

Pruitt writes that very little time on the show was actually spent with Trump in the room. He added that the then-future president would target female members of the crew “with the gaze of a hungry lion,” “leering” at a female camera assistant and assessing the looks of a female contestant “for whoever is listening.” He allegedly told a female camera operator to get off an elevator where she was about to film him because she was too “heavy.”

Donald Trump attends a ‘Celebrity Apprentice' red carpet event at Trump Tower on February 3, 2015 in New York City (Getty Images)
Donald Trump attends a ‘Celebrity Apprentice' red carpet event at Trump Tower on February 3, 2015 in New York City (Getty Images)

Towards the end of the first season, only two contestants remained – Kwame Jackson, a Black man working as a broker for Goldman Sachs, and Bill Rancic, a white cigar business entrepreneur.

Trump gave them each a task at one of his properties. Jackson teamed up with former contestant Omarosa Manigault Newman to oversee a benefit concert with Jessica Simpson at Trump Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City, while Rancic was in charge of a celebrity golf tournament at Trump National Golf Club in Briarcliff Manor, New York.

Back in the boardroom, Carolyn Kepcher, who was in charge of hospitality units and one of Mr Trump’s golf clubs, said she saw Jackson overcome more obstacles than Rancic.

“I think Kwame would be a great addition to the organization,” she said, according to Pruitt.

The former producer describes Trump as wincing “while his head bobs around in reaction to what he is hearing and clearly resisting.”

“Why didn’t he just fire her?” Trump asked regarding Newman, who later joined Mr Trump in the White House.

“That’s not his job. That’s yours,” showrunner Jay Bienstock told Mr Trump, according to the producer.

“I don’t think he knew he had the ability to do that,” Kepcher responded.

“Yeah, but, I mean, would America buy a n***** winning?” Trump allegedly asked.

Pruitt writes that “Kepcher’s pale skin goes bright red. I turn my gaze toward Trump. He continues to wince. He is serious, and he is adamant about not hiring Jackson.”

Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung told The Independent: “This is a completely fabricated and bull**** story that was already peddled in 2016.”

He added: “Nobody took it seriously then, and they won’t now, because it’s fake news. Now that Crooked Joe Biden and the Democrats are losing the election, they are bringing up old fake stories from the past because they are desperate.”

Trump has also rejected this version of events in the past, claiming on social media in 2018 that the executive producer of the show allegedly told him that “there are no tapes of The Apprentice where I used such a terrible and disgusting word.”

“I don’t have that word in my vocabulary, and never have,” he added at the time.

Trump was responding to a claim by Newman that he repeatedly used the n-word during the filming of The Apprentice.

After leaving the White House, Newman severely criticized Trump, writing in her book Unhinged that his mental abilities were on a downward slope and that he wasn’t suited for the top job.

In August 2018, she told NPR that she had heard the tape in question.

“Hearing it changed everything for me,” she said at the time.

Pruitt writes that “almost nothing was how we made it seem” on the program. “We scammed. We swindled. Nobody heard the racist and misogynistic comments or saw the alleged cheating, the bluffing, or his hair taking off in the wind. Those tapes, I’ve come to believe, will never be found.”