WASHINGTON: As fallout builds from the release of a 2005 video of Donald Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women, pressure is mounting for the leaking of more “hot mic” footage exposing the Republican candidate’s candid talk.
Rumors are circulating about more damaging talk on video or in transcripts from the real estate billionaire’s 11-season hit reality TV show “The Apprentice”, which the show’s producer Mark Burnett sought to deflect on Monday.
“Despite reports to the contrary, Mark Burnett does not have the ability nor the right to release footage or other material from ‘The Apprentice,'” read a statement to US media attributed to Burnett and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which owns his production company.
“Various contractual and legal requirements also restrict MGM’s ability to release such material,” it added without elaborating.
The statement comes as others connected to the show are suggesting the existence of evidence Trump objectified women during unscripted moments.
“As a producer on seasons 1 & 2 of #theapprentice I assure you: when it comes to the #trumptapes there are far worse. #justthebegininng,” tweeted producer Bill Pruitt.
Another producer, Chris Nee, suggested on Twitter that Trump had used the “N word.”
The Huffington Post reported one transcript it said it had obtained as showing Trump criticized a contestant for her appearance.
“Her skin, her skin sucks, okay?” The Huffington Post reported him as saying about a country music star who appeared on the show. “I mean her skin, she needs some serious fuckin’ dermatology.”
Trump’s candidacy suffered a crippling blow after the 2005 tape was released Friday in which he claimed he could grab women by the crotch with impunity because, as a celebrity, “you can do anything.”
However, Nee and other producers dampened hopes for the immediate release of more, indicating a clause in “The Apprentice” employees’ contracts imposes a $5 million dollar penalty on those responsible for any leaks from the show.
Burnett appeared to downplay the assertion in his statement, saying “the recent claims that Mark Burnett have threatened anyone with litigation if they were to leak such material are completely and unequivocally false.”
Trump is well-known for requiring employees—and even his ex-wife Ivana Trump—to sign non-disclosure agreements.
Nee has nevertheless urged the tech billionaire Mark Cuban, a prominent Trump critic, to pay the legal fees of any potential leaker.
A crowdfunding campaign on the GoFundMe site is also seeking to raise $5 million for anyone providing evidence that “the current nominee for president of the United States is not a moral leader.”
The site says just under $23,000 has been raised so far. AFP