AP: 'Apprentice' Staff, Contestants Say Trump Demeaned Them
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
It was a busy weekend for revelations about Donald Trump. The New York Times published part of an old tax filing. And the Associated Press reported on demeaning comments by Trump about women. It had interviewed former insiders on Trump's reality show "The Apprentice." Some told reporter Garance Burke of inappropriate behavior toward women. She joined us via Skype.
GARANCE BURKE: Some people had a really good experience on the show and felt like not only did Trump play the boss on TV, but he was a great leader and a compassionate mentor. But then, nearly two dozen of the people I spoke with in separate interviews mentioned feeling pretty uncomfortable with instances where Trump would talk publicly about women's bodies on set, you know, the breasts and rear ends of women he was working with and sometimes even the female contestants he might want to sleep with.
MONTAGNE: Was there a story, along those lines, that stood out for you as the most surprising?
BURKE: One of the most surprising things to me was how many people I interviewed mentioned specific anecdotes in which they felt that Donald Trump was inappropriate in the workplace. So several people remembered being in the board room, for instance, talking about a business task with Trump. And then all of a sudden, he would ask the male contestants to tell him which female contestants were hottest and which ones they would sleep with.
MONTAGNE: From what you heard, this was all verbal. I mean, there was no touching. There was no direct propositioning of the contestants. It was all an environmental thing is what it sounds like.
BURKE: Exactly. So I should say that some women on set felt like all of this talk was just playful banter and flirty repartee. But numerous crew members felt like it made for a difficult working environment, where women were getting unwelcomed sexual attention, including a camera operator who they said Trump took a fancy to.
MONTAGNE: And what has Donald Trump said about all of this?
BURKE: So the Trump campaign issued a general denial of the accounts that cast and crew gave us of what they described as his inappropriate behavior toward women on the set of "The Apprentice." And Trump's campaign spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, emailed AP a statement saying that these claims were false and outlandish and unsubstantiated and that they had been fabricated by publicity-hungry, disgruntled former employees. But the campaign didn't want to answer specific questions that AP emailed and also declined to give us an interview.
MONTAGNE: Well, thank you very much.
BURKE: Thank you.
MONTAGNE: That's Garance Burke, national investigative reporter for The Associated Press. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.