Pressure continues to mount on Mark Burnett to release potentially embarrassing outtakes of Donald Trump from his 11 years as the star of NBC’s The Apprentice. Today, attorney Gloria Allred and representatives from several women’s advocacy groups tried to deliver an open letter to Burnett at MGM’s offices in Beverly Hills, but security guards wouldn’t let them in the building.
On Saturday, Bill Pruitt, a former producer on the show, tweeted that Trump made “far worse” comments in those outtakes than were seen on the Hollywood Access tapes that surfaced Friday. But Trump, who owns a stake in The Apprentice – his Trump Productions LLC co-produced it – has threatened to sue if the outtakes are made public.
Burnett and MGM said Monday that they are unable to release the outtakes. “Mark Burnett does not have the ability nor the right to release footage or other material from The Apprentice,” they said in a joint statement. “Various contractual and legal requirements also restrict MGM’s ability to release such material.”
Allred, however, isn’t having any of that. She offered to assemble a panel of three retired judges to view the material and the contracts to see if they could be presented to the public legally.
Standing before a bank of news cameras outside the studios offices, Allred read a letter she’d written to Burnett, who produced the show and is president of MGM Television:
“I am writing to request an immediate meeting with you and/or senior executives at MGM with reference to the release of footage of The Apprentice. You have publicly stated that there are legal restrictions and prohibitions on releasing the tapes. I would request and welcome a meeting with you and your attorneys in which you would explain in detail the specifics of those claimed restrictions and/or prohibitions. In the alternative, I would proposed that the evidence supporting your assertion that there is a legal basis for your refusal to release footage of Mr. Trump on The Apprentice” be disclosed to a panel of three retired Los Angeles Superior Court judges who would review your claimed legal restrictions and determine if the footage of Mr. Trump can legally be released.”
That, however, is almost certain not to happen – especially in light of the fact that Allred revealed during the news conference that she has been contacted by an undisclosed number of women who say that they have been victimized by Trump. If Allred plans to file a lawsuit on their behalf, her best hope of obtaining the footage would be through a subpoena – and that could take months or even years. The election in November 8.
Another letter signed by Allred and several other women’s rights leaders – including National Organization for Women president Terry O’Neill and the Feminist Majority president Eleanor Smeal – told Burnett that it is his “civic duty” to release the outtakes. “The compelling public interest overrides any confidentiality clauses MGM, Burnett Productions Co. or you personally may be hiding behind,” they wrote. “Those clauses are not intended to shield a presidential candidate from scrutiny that he himself has invited by making his racism, xenophobia and misogyny a campaign issue. Mr. Burnett, history can turn on a single act, one decision to do the right thing. You have an obligation to take that step today.”
Unable to deliver the letters to Burnett personally, Allred said that they would be delivered to him via FedEx.