‘The Apprentice’ Producer Says He Heard Trump Use the N-Word on Set to Reference Contestant

With a non-disclosure agreement expired, Bill Pruitt writes that he witnessed the moment that’s been rumored for years to be on tape

Donald Trump in court
Donald Trump (Credit: Getty Images)

A former producer of “The Apprentice” says Donald Trump used the N-word when referring to a Black contestant during production, and is speaking out about the long-rumored incident now because his nondisclosure agreement recently expired.

Bill Pruitt, who worked in production for the first two seasons of the NBC reality show, writes in a Slate story that Trump used the racist word while questioning whether Kwame Jackson could win. 

In the piece, “The Donald Trump I Saw on The Apprentice,” Pruitt writes that Trump revealed his character on set – and that some days “still haunt” him.

One of these instances included a discussion with Trump over who should win the reality program, with the choices being between Jackson and Bill Rancic, who is white. As Trump weighed the options, he said “Yeah, but, I mean, would America buy a n— winning?” according to Pruitt.

The former producer said people in the room were surprised by the language, but nothing came of it.

The use of racist language – which Trump denies – was recounted in a 2018 book by former “Apprentice” contestant Omarosa Manigault Newman, who briefly became a White House aide in the Trump administration. Newman said she never herself heard the slur, but was told by three people that there are tapes of outtakes in which Trump uses it.

Pruitt also says Trump targeted crew members “with the gaze of a hungry lion,” specifically “leering at a female camera assistant or assessing the physical attributes of a female contestant for whoever is listening.”

Pruitt also writes that “The Apprentice” became a “long con played out over a decade of watching Trump dominate prime time by shouting orders, appearing to lead, and confidently firing some of the most capable people on television.”

“Audiences responded to Trump’s arrogance, his perceived abilities and prescience, but mostly his confidence,” Pruitt adds. “The centerpiece to any confidence game is precisely that—confidence.”


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