'The Apprentice' Producer Recalls Donald Trump Using N-Word, Says It's On Tape

A former producer for “The Apprentice” claims there’s a recording of former President Donald Trump using a racial slur when he starred on the program.

Bill Pruitt, a producer for the first two seasons of the reality TV show that boosted Trump’s billionaire image, wrote in a Slate piece published Thursday that Trump used the N-word in reference to a Black contestant on the show.

During an off-camera meeting in which the show’s producers laid out the strengths and weaknesses of the show’s contestants in order to help Trump decide who should win at the end of the first season, Pruitt recalled one of Trump’s advisers praising a Black contestant named Kwame Jackson.

“Yeah,” Trump said, according to Pruitt, “but, I mean, would America buy a n— winning?”

Pruitt said in his piece that the conversation was “caught on tape” because the show’s producers recorded audio of all the off-camera briefings about contestants. He also wrote that he was recalling quoted conversations to the best of his ability and that “they are not verbatim.” He said he’s coming forward now because his nondisclosure agreement related to the show just expired.

Pruitt quotes Trump spokesman Steven Cheung denying Trump said the N-word during his time on “The Apprentice.” “This is a completely fabricated and bullshit story that was already peddled in 2016,” Cheung said.

In response to a CNN commentator posting on social media that Trump said the N-word on Thursday, Cheung wrote, “Prove it, bitch.” He added: “You can’t, because it’s a fake and bullshit story your dumb ass is peddling because Biden is hemorrhaging support from Black Americans.”

Rumors that Trump used the slur have swirled for years. Omarosa Manigault Newman, another contestant on the show who also served a brief stint in the Trump White House, claimed in 2018 that she had heard a tape of Trump saying the N-word, but in a memoir published that year she wrote that someone else described the recording, not that she heard it herself. The actor Tom Arnold has made a similar claim.

Other insiders from “The Apprentice” have said they weren’t aware of an N-word tape and that if such a recording existed, it would have leaked by now.

Jackson, for his part, told Salon in 2016 he believed racism had something to do with his not winning the first season of“The Apprentice.”