Top Democratic operatives have offered to pay millions of dollars for unaired footage of Donald Trump on the set of “The Apprentice,” hoping to unearth another unscripted moment like the one that surfaced Friday from 2005, when Trump said he would grab women “by the pussy.”
But it’s not just videos they should be looking for. “The Apprentice,” executive produced by Mark Burnett, had a transcript service. And on some occasions, transcribers captured moments that didn’t end up on air, according to multiple sources involved in the show.
It’s not clear how many transcripts exist. Sources say that some transcribers occasionally stuck to what they felt would end up in the program, while others took notes of what was said, regardless of whether it would air.
Those at “The Apprentice” have been intensely guarded about both the transcripts and the unaired footage. Burnett was reported by BuzzFeed to be a Trump supporter who has threatened to sue employees who leak material in violation of their nondisclosure agreements.
Burnett, in a statement released to CNN’s Brian Stelter on Monday, refuted the BuzzFeed report. He said he has neither “the ability nor the right” to release video or audio recordings related to “The Apprentice,” and MGM is also restricted from releasing material.
“The recent claims that Mark Burnett has threatened anyone with litigation if they were to leak such material are completely and unequivocally false,” Burnett’s statement said. “To be clear, as previously reported in the press, which Mark Burnett has confirmed, he has consistently supported Democratic campaigns.”
The Huffington Post was able to obtain and authenticate one transcript of an episode from the show’s ninth season. The material isn’t as jaw-dropping as Trump’s 2005 hot mic moment, but it does further illustrate the Republican presidential nominee’s obsession with women’s looks ― a trait that has drawn even more scrutiny since Trump’s boasts that his fame allowed him to grope women have become public. (Trump has denied doing this.)
The episode, titled “Beauty and Brains,” aired in 2010. Contestants were tasked with making over a country music star before presenting them to three music industry insiders. They improved the star’s interviewing skills, produced promotional packets and helped them prepare for live radio shows and performances.
One team managed Emily West, a budding musician who later appeared on “America’s Got Talent.” The other managed Luke Bryan, a country singer and songwriter who has gone on to notable success.
During the boardroom session that decided which team did the better job transforming its artist, Trump turned the conversation sharply ― and at times, uncomfortably ― to West’s physical appearance, specifically her skin.
“I assume you’re gonna leave this off, don’t put this shit on the show, you know. But her skin, her skin sucks, okay?” he says, according to the transcript. “I mean her skin, she needs some serious fuckin’ dermatology.”
““You’re obviously not a skin man,” Trump said. He later reiterated the point, pounded the table and said, “which is okay.” He added, “I wish I wasn’t.””
Cyndi Lauper, who headed the team that managed West, interjected to explain that they used “dry stuff” ― presumably, makeup ― and said Trump was objecting to something that was “not her skin.” But he remained unimpressed.
“Fuck,” he proclaimed. “That’s Emily, that’s what I’m hearing about? Let me see the other one. I assume you’re not putting this on the show. ‘Cause I don’t wanna destroy the kid’s career.”
At one point, Trump briefly brought the conversation back to the actual work. But he returned again to West’s physical appearance. The back-and-forth continued for roughly three minutes.
“Personally, I am, as you probably heard, not a gay man, but I think he’s better looking that [sic] Emily okay?” Trump said of Bryan at one point.
Trump also asked Trace Adkins, the country music star who served as a guest judge on the show, what he thought about brochures that each team produced.
“Well I um, I, I think the one they did for Emily is a little more polished looking,” Adkins said.
“You’re obviously not a skin man,” Trump said. He later reiterated the point, pounded the table and said, “which is okay.” He added, “I wish I wasn’t.”
West, whose team went on to win the episode, told HuffPost she never met Trump during her appearance on the show. They filmed their pieces separately, and the apprentices would gather in the boardroom, where Trump would decide who was “fired” and make comments about their “products.”
“Trace Adkins approved of me,” West said. “I’m good.”
Lauper, meanwhile, confirmed that the transcript accurately captured the unaired portion of that episode.
“Yes, of course [he said that],” she told HuffPost. Lauper noted that the music industry often places a strong emphasis on physical appearance, but said Trump didn’t have standing to criticize. “Of all people to talk about people’s skin!” she said. “What the hell is going on with his?”
Lauper is not a fan of Trump. “That’s the way he is,” she said. “It is just very disappointing.”
“There [Hillary Clinton] is [during Sunday night’s debate], and he is walking behind her like he’s a thug. And he’s talking to her and her husband like that. And it’s like, who are you? How dare you?” she asked.
“He’s a reality star,” Lauper added, “and he has low-lifed our entire political system that is so 1800 gangs of New York.”
“Of all people to talk about people’s skin! What the hell is going on with his?”
Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks said the campaign “can’t comment on an alleged transcript.” Burnett’s office did not return a request for comment by deadline.
Both, however, have rejected efforts to open up the video archives of “The Apprentice” so that voters may be able to view unaired moments. A former “Apprentice” staff member ― who asked to remain anonymous because of a nondisclosure agreement ― confirmed that banter unrelated to the show was not required to be transcribed, but may have been. When Trump thought he was off-camera, the former staff member said, he was known to make comments that objectified women.
Bill Pruitt, who previously worked on “The Apprentice,” tweeted that there is “far worse” when it comes to the Trump tapes. Television producer Chris Nee, who did not work on the show, claimed on Twitter that she had heard from staff that there’s footage of Trump using the n-word. (HuffPost could not confirm this.) Nee clarified later that she had “only heard rumors.”
According to multiple sources, people who worked on “The Apprentice” were forced to sign a thorough nondisclosure agreement that prevented them from discussing or releasing information about the show. Several former staff members declined to speak to HuffPost, with at least one citing a NDA.
A copy of the agreement that HuffPost saw confirms that there is a $5 million penalty for disclosing such information. A GoFundMe campaign launched Sunday seeks to raise about the same amount of money to reward a whistleblower.
NDAs are standard for Trump employees, and the real estate mogul has sued people ― including his ex-wife Ivana ― for violating them. He also sued Barbara Corcoran, who then worked in real estate, for speaking with New York magazine about one of his business deals. In that case, a judge ruled against Trump.
The former reality TV star has said he would consider requiring high-level federal employees to sign NDAs if he is elected president.
This article has been updated to include Burnett’s statement to CNN’s Brian Stelter.
If you have any transcripts or videos from unaired portions of “The Apprentice,” contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.
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