After it was confirmed yesterday that Donald Trump will remain an executive producer on NBC's The New Celebrity Apprentice, one upcoming contestant, Carrie Keagan, told BuzzFeed News the president-elect's continued role on the show "is kinda fucked up."
In an emailed statement to BuzzFeed News, Keagan wrote that Trump is "no longer some arrogant real estate mogul/daddy’s boy with some dangerously out of touch notions about how to treat people. Now, he’s about to become the most powerful person in the world with a brand that represents bigotry, misogyny, racism, classism and hate on a level that we, as a country, regardless of party affiliation, should not tolerate."
On Thursday, the president-elect's senior adviser, Kellyanne Conway, defended Trump's involvement in the new series, which has been rebranded with Arnold Schwarzenegger as the host.
Trump had hosted The Celebrity Apprentice for seven seasons. In June 2015, NBC cut ties with him after he made racist comments toward Mexicans. The New Celebrity Apprentice, however, is produced by Mark Burnett, who is the president of MGM Television, meaning Trump will not be on NBC's payroll.
In her statement, Keagan also wrote that she was "pursued" to be a Trump surrogate for the Republican National Convention this summer.
Here's her full statement is below:
I can’t say I’m surprised that Donald Trump’s name is back on Celebrity Apprentice but I am disappointed. I had hoped we dodged this particular bullet since his parting with NBC had been quite acrimonious and throughout my entire experience with this new season, there seemed to be a genuine effort to “de-Trump” it, if you will, from the top down.
Yet, here we are. Now, I can only speak for myself but I think his name on the series only serves to taint the experience. I, personally, have no interest in being perceived as a representative or an ambassador of anything Trump’s involved with. Which is what we all are now that his name is back on the show under the Trump brand. I wasn’t interested in doing that when I was pursued to be a surrogate for him at the Republican National Convention this past summer and I sure as hell am not interested in doing that now.
I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to be on the show and to try and raise money for The Humane Society of the United States and I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that the most important thing here, for everyone involved, is helping charities. So, ultimately, that’s what we hang our hat on!
But we can’t lose sight of the fact that some of these very charities and many others are going to be coming under fire by President-Elect Trump. It’s a bit of a paradox. So, yeah, his name staying on the show is kinda fucked up! He’s no longer some arrogant real estate mogul/daddy’s boy with some dangerously out of touch notions about how to treat people. Now, he’s about to become the most powerful person in the world with a brand that represents bigotry, misogyny, racism, classism and hate on a level that we, as a country, regardless of party affiliation, should not tolerate.
Nothing against Arnold but, at this point, I would have much preferred to have Trump playing pretend as the host of a silly, fun reality show than actually becoming the President of the United States. That way the only things in danger of getting hurt are the egos of a bunch of celebrities instead of the lives and the wellbeing of 300 million Americans.
You’d think he’d have bigger issues to worry about than keeping his name on a television show. I wish he had just left it alone but since he has, yet again, insisted upon himself, I’d feel a lot better if he donated all of his profits to charity, which is, at the end of the day, the very spirit of the show, isn’t it? As long as it’s not his own charity, of course.
BuzzFeed News requested further details from Keagan on what efforts Celebrity Apprentice has made to distance itself from Trump. Trump, NBC, Mark Burnett Productions, and MGM did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News' request for a comment.