Saturday, June 22, 2024

NeNe Leakes, Randal Pinkett Discuss Racist and Sexist Incidents Involving Donald Trump

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*A crowd sourcing effort is afoot to raise the $5 million penalty fee that will meet any source who leaks evidence of Donald Trump using the N-word and exhibiting crass behavior toward women during his 11-year tenure on “The Apprentice.”

In the meantime, however, several folks associated with the show have come forward to discuss their experiences with Trump, circumventing executive producer Mark Burnett’s $5 million legal threat to keep any recordings from trickling out.

In the wake of the GOP presidential candidate’s comments revealed in the 2005 “Access Hollywood” video, The Hollywood Reporter spoke with nearly a dozen men and women who worked with Trump on “The Apprentice,” as well as his Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, including “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star NeNe Leakes, “Apprentice” season 4 contestant Marshawn Evans, and season 4 winner, Randal Pinkett.

“Based on the interviews, a picture emerges of Trump as a dominating presence who routinely made sexist comments. At times, he even exhibited racist behavior, these people say,” wrote THR’s Kate Stanhope.

Via THR:

Sources who worked closely with Trump when he owned the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants claim he demonstrated a bias against women of color. One recalls he did not want African-Americans in the top 10 of the Miss USA pageant. “He was very concerned one year. He did not want one woman to win because she was Puerto Rican,” says the Miss USA source. “He said, ‘She can’t win. Don’t get me wrong she’s a beautiful girl, I just don’t want her to win.’”

NeNe Leakes arrives at the 2013 Miss USA Pageant in Las Vegas
NeNe Leakes arrives at the 2013 Miss USA Pageant in Las Vegas

NeNe Leakes, who served as a judge for Miss USA 2013, says higher-ups at the pageant attempted to influence the voting process in meetings that occurred prior to the pageant. “You pretty much knew who was going to win,” she tells THR. “You’re just kind of told in a way that this person’s going to win. We don’t have any control. I don’t know who the girl next to me voted for, I just know that these are the top picks we need to be looking at, don’t worry about nobody else, just worry about these two people right here.”

Marshawn Evans and Brian Mandelbaum of "The Apprentice" Season 4
Marshawn Evans and Brian Mandelbaum of “The Apprentice” Season 4

Producers on The Apprentice also attempted to influence the outcome of that program, according to [season four contestant] Marshawn Evans. She alleges production interfered with the show’s results in the episode that she was fired, when a fellow contestant, Brian Mandelbaum, initially said he intended to offer himself up for elimination.

“I later found out – because [Mandelbaum] told me – that one of the producers asked him to turn his microphone off and took him away from Trump Tower to a bar and explained that if he quit like that, that it was going to look bad for him because Donald always makes people who quit and don’t fight look bad,” she says. “So in the boardroom, he started throwing, I think it was me and Randal [Pinkett], under the bus.”

Although it was unclear whether the producer had instructed Mandelbaum on which contestants to name in the boardroom, Evans and Pinkett both happened to be African-American. (Mandelbaum declined to comment.)

This photo supplied by NBC shows Donald Trump, left, congratulating Randal Pinkett, as Rebecca Jarvis, right, looks on
This photo supplied by NBC shows Donald Trump, left, congratulating Randal Pinkett, as Rebecca Jarvis, right, looks on

Pinkett went on to win his season – the first African-American champion on the show. However, the triumphant finale was dampened by what he deemed to be a “racist” and “insulting” comment Trump made on air.

“After Donald declared me the winner and said, “Randall, you’re hired,” he asked me a question that he had never asked any contestant prior and never asked of any contestant after me. He asked me if I wanted to share a title with the white runner-up,” he recalls. “The better question is: Why did Donald ask me to share? And my only answer is that he did not want to have an African-American have a clear, clean, full victory.”

The person Trump wanted him to share the prize with? A 23-year-old female financial journalist named Rebecca Jarvis. “Leading up to my finale, Donald was interviewed by Us Weekly and when the interviewer asked what he thought about the two of us, he said that he thought I was lazy and he thought that she was beautiful,” Pinkett says. “It just felt like a really bizarre choice of words to call the black guy lazy and to call the woman beautiful.”

Pinkett also says he experienced “institutional racism” when he worked at the Trump Entertainment Resorts for a year in 2006 – the job being part of his prize. “There were no executives of color in the organization,” he says. “I never sat in a room with another person of color over my entire year there other than the person I saw in the mirror.”

Adds Pinkett, “All of that behavior simply predicated the behavior that we’ve seen in recent years and on the campaign trail. That’s Donald.”

Donald Trump with advisors George H. Ross and Carolyn Kepcher on "The Apprentice"
Donald Trump with advisors George H. Ross and Carolyn Kepcher on “The Apprentice”

The THR article continues with a number of past contestants and staffers describing Trump’s sexist behavior on the show, including identifying female contestants by their attributes, talking down to the show’s original female advisor Carolyn Kepcher and the enforcement of specific dress codes for women on the show.

Pinkett says he remembers being quizzed by Trump about which of his fellow contestants he would sleep with. “It was kind of common knowledge that Donald loved women, loved to compliment women, loved to talk about women’s looks,” Pinkett says.

Read the entire article here.

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