A newly published report in Vanity Fair Magazine details an unlikely, previously unknown catalyst that helped catapult Donald Trump to the presidency — Hollywood executives who refused for months to release documentation of some of the most abhorrent, potentially candidacy sinking things that Trump said while working on “The Apprentice.”
Clinton campaign staffers had their sights on rumored but elusive tapes of Trump from “The Apprentice” for over a year, ever since the very first lengthy general election strategy meeting of the campaign season. As the magazine put it, “what Trump may have said between takes [of The Apprentice] became a year-long fixation.”
And it wasn’t even just the Clinton campaign. Vanity Fair notes that people close the production process for “The Apprentice” received calls throughout the campaign season from people at the Associated Press, BuzzFeed, POLITICO, The New York Times, CNN, the Huffington Post, and The Washington Post.
After all, Trump’s campaign quickly turned into an obsession with the man’s character, a character that may have been able to be better understood prior to the election if tapes from “The Apprentice” were released.
Indeed, the obsession with Trump’s unique character as evidenced by the Clinton campaign’s obsession over the mythical outtakes from “The Apprentice” is likely part of why Trump ended up winning the presidency.
While Clinton paraded herself as a viable candidate by comparing herself to Trump’s virulent character, Trump paraded himself as the candidate of the “working class” who supposedly had a set of policies to “Make America Great Again.” And one thing was always clear about this newly “great” America — it matched the ideals of the millions of working class voters who propelled Trump to victory in the states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
Still, there remains the distinct possibility that somewhere in the long-lost tapes of “Apprentice” outtakes there sat some showing of Trump’s character that may have cost him the presidency. Even if millions of his supporters ignored the revelation that he had effectively defended sexual assault in 2005, certainly, in theory at least, some revelation about his character could have damned him in their eyes.
The problem is that Hollywood Executives prevented such a possibility from ever even coming close to becoming reality. One source told Vanity Fair of the members of “The Apprentice” production crew who had access to potentially damning footage, “They are all terrified of being sued. Most of these people are freelancers, and there is no one that is going to protect them.”
And indeed, Trump, who worked in reality television on “The Apprentice” for around a decade, has long been known as someone who is far from afraid of suing anyone who dared to oppose him.
Another source pointed to another reason that presidential candidacy sinking footage from “The Apprentice” never materialized — management was worried about potential repercussions.
The magazine wrote of Mark Burnett, who is one of the figures behind “The Apprentice:”
‘Burnett has been able to persuade countless minor celebrities to come on his shows with the implicit promise that he would never make them look bad. If a tape of one of the most significant people in Burnett’s portfolio leaked, Burnett worried… his reputation could be diminished.’
And on top of all of this, the magazine reported a third reason as to why no leaked Apprentice footage ever surfaced — nobody thought it would even matter much because nobody thought Trump had much of a chance of winning in the first place.
Obviously, they were wrong.
Featured Image: Andrew H Walker via Getty Images (with talk balloon added).