Former ‘Apprentice’ producer alleges Trump used N-word to refer to Black contestant

A producer for “The Apprentice” is claiming that former President Donald Trump used the N-word during the show’s filming — and it was recorded on camera.

Bill Pruitt, a former show producer, wrote in a piece published Thursday by Slate that Trump used the word to describe Kwame Jackson, a Black finalist on the first season of “The Apprentice,” which aired in 2004.

Pruitt wrote that he was one of four producers involved in the show’s first two seasons — and that he signed a nondisclosure agreement carrying a potential fine of $5 million that he says expired this year.

His claim repeats an allegation that has circulated for years. Omarosa Manigault Newman, a former “Apprentice” contestant and Trump White House aide, claimed in 2018, as she was promoting her book, that she’d heard a tape of Trump using the racist term. CNN has not independently confirmed the existence of the tape.

Responding to the allegation at the time, Trump tweeted, “I don’t have that word in my vocabulary, and never have.”

Pruitt wrote that Trump used the word while discussing, on camera, Jackson’s performance, including his handling of Manigault Newman, with showrunner Jay Bienstock, Trump employee Carolyn Kepcher and other producers, including Pruitt.

The conversation was focused on who would win the show’s first season.

Pruitt wrote: “‘Yeah,’ he says to no one in particular, ‘but, I mean, would America buy a n— winning?’”

He added that Trump “is serious, and he is adamant about not hiring Jackson.”

Jackson would ultimately lose “The Apprentice” to fellow contestant Bill Rancic.

Pruitt wrote, “Afterward, we film the final meeting in the boardroom, where Jackson and Rancic are scrutinized by Trump, who, we already know, favors Rancic. Then we wrap production, pack up, and head home. There is no discussion about what Trump said in the boardroom, about how the damning evidence was caught on tape. Nothing happens.”

Trump’s campaign flatly denied Pruitt’s claims.

“This is a completely fabricated and bullshit story that was already peddled in 2016,” Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung said in a statement. “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.”

Pruitt also described Trump commenting on female camera operators’ looks. He ordered one woman off an elevator on which she was about to film Trump because he said out loud that she was “too heavy,” Pruitt wrote, and compared another’s looks to his daughter Ivanka Trump’s.

“There’s a beautiful woman behind that camera,” Trump said, according to Pruitt. “That’s all I want to look at.”

Pruitt described the show as a “long con” built around Trump’s confidence. He wrote that the show elevated Trump “from sleazy New York tabloid hustler to respectable household name.”

“In the show, he appeared to demonstrate impeccable business instincts and unparalleled wealth, even though his businesses had barely survived multiple bankruptcies and faced yet another when he was cast,” he wrote. “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.”


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