Apprentice EP Calls the Show a 'Scam' That Elevated Donald Trump from 'Crumbling' Businessman to PEOTUS
On Wednesday, Vanity Fair released the remainder of a post-election email from Bill Pruitt, who served as executive producer on the President-elect’s reality series in seasons 1 and 2 and who previously blew the whistle on potentially damning footage of Trump after footage of the the then-candidate, 70, was leaked showing him bragging about allegedly sexually assaulting women.
In the scathing commentary, Pruitt owns his part in elevating the “crumbling” businessman to the heights of power he has reached in recent months, but he also decries the participation of his colleagues in the media for creating a “horrifying” blur between entertaining and storytelling (a.k.a. reality TV) and actual reality.
Pruitt begins by saying that the current political and cultural landscape is confronting “a larger issue at hand: non-fiction or ‘reality’ television has obviously become a huge force in shaping the minds of the populace. The Apprentice contributed to that.”
Citing changing practices of news producers to compete with reality television shows like The Apprentice, the proliferation of fake news and the growing influence of Twitter chatter, Pruitt claims “the entire journalism world [has] turned on its head.”
Pruitt places no small share of the blame for Trump’s ascent on “clever producers” such as himself who “were putting forth a manufactured story about a billionaire whose empire was, in actuality, crumbling at the very same time he took the job, the salary, and ownership rights to do a reality show. The Apprentice was a scam put forth to the public in exchange for ratings.”
According to Pruitt, Trump’s mythos as crafted by TV producers for “entertainment” morphed into publicly accepted “truth.”
There, says the producer, Russian president Vladimir Putin found room to step in and act as “puppet master doing a Jedi mind trick on the world so that he and Exxon Mobil could strike deals that would make them and the other 1 percent more rich and powerful than they already are.”
He continues, “So it’s more than just about lewd, lascivious behavior and narcissism on set. It’s about a complex global system that uses the media to construct its allies and to sway the populace to move like lemmings toward the ballot box.”
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But even Pruitt says he’s staggered by “how quickly and decisively the world bought it. Did we think this clown, this buffoon with the funny hair, would ever become a world leader? Not once. Ever.”
Pruitt reaches his conclusion with a plea to the media: “Now that the lines of fiction and reality have blurred to the horrifying extent that they have, those involved in the media must have their day of reckoning. People are buying our crap. Make it entertaining, yes. But make it real. Give them the truth or pay the consequences.”