After a video was leaked of Donald Trump bragging about sexual assault many in the media — and many voters — wondered if there was more to the story. Was this an isolated incident of a guy just trying to score points for his Man Card, or was it smoke of a very different sort of fire.
To get an answer to this question, many turned their attention to Mark Burnett, the reality show producer who worked with Trump for years on The Apprentice. When producers, stars, and others affiliated with the show hinted — or flat out said — there was worse contained in tapes of the show, the pressure was on Burnett to produce the tapes. He refused.
But that didn’t stop Burnett from essentially voting Trump off the island in a stinging quote describing the presidential candidate’s character.
“…hatred, division, and misogyny has been a very unfortunate part of his campaign…” Burnett said, in part.
But, once he said that, the producer clammed up. He has already said he has no plans to release any tapes and, in fact, has not said if any incriminating tapes even exist. When pressed, Burnett said he doesn’t have the legal right to release the tapes. Others have said they would have to get Trump’s permission to release the tapes.
Many are saying there’s no need. Critics of Mr. Trump continue to say his entire campaign has been little more than a raunchy reality show, one titillating controversy after another. Others have said Trump may be an entertainer, but he’s the real deal. It’s this sentiment, in part, that made The Apprentice such a hit.
Sure, Trump was on TV firing fake people from fake — and often silly — job interviews, but he was also a Real Boss, a self-made billionaire who has seen levels of success many cannot even conceive. The fact that he’s running for president and many of the headlines could have been pulled directly from scripts of the show only seem to add to his appeal in some circles.
There’s no doubt Trump loves the limelight, but it’s doubtful he loves the attention enough to allow Burnett to unleash what could be some pretty difficult footage to square with the image Trump is trying to project. Then again, he’s managed to turn all conventional campaign “wisdom” completely upside down in his unbelievable run for the White House. Maybe Trump will test the “all publicity is good publicity” cliché … many are praying for that opportunity.
Regardless of what happens, Burnett has issued an edict that no one on his staff at any level should “leak” any of the tapes. If they do, reports have made clear they will face the wrath of senior management, and potentially the legal system.
Elie Hirschfeld is NY real estate developer.