NEW YORK (AP) — In his years as a reality TV boss on “The Apprentice,” Donald Trump repeatedly demeaned women with sexist language, according to show insiders who said he rated female contestants by the size of their breasts and talked about which ones he’d like to have sex with.
The Associated Press interviewed more than 20 people — former crew members, editors and contestants — who described crass behavior by Trump behind the scenes of the long-running hit show, in which aspiring capitalists were given tasks to perform as they competed for jobs working for him.
The staffers and contestants agreed to recount their experiences as Trump’s behavior toward women has become a core issue in the presidential campaign. Interviewed separately, they gave concurring accounts of inappropriate conduct on the set.
Eight former crew members recalled that he repeatedly made lewd comments about a camerawoman he said had a nice rear, comparing her beauty to that of his daughter, Ivanka.
Rebecca Arndt, a camera assistant who worked on the show following Trump’s 2005 marriage, said Trump would stop production to make comments about the camera operator’s looks in front of the crew.
“I remember being in the foyer once with eight or 10 cameras set up and he said something about her being so pretty,” Arndt said. “He would make it about his line of sight, like ‘There is a beautiful woman behind that camera, so I only want to look at that.’ It was supposed to be considered a compliment, but of course it was inappropriate.”
German Abarca, another former camera operator, said most of the camera crew knew that Trump was attracted to their colleague.
Abarca said the woman was the frequent subject of ribbing by others in the crew, almost all of whom were much younger than Trump. “I think she mostly tried to ignore it.”
Arndt said that Trump would publicly discuss the woman’s beauty and how her blue eyes and blonde hair compared to his daughter Ivanka’s looks.
“He would just mention it all the time. I remember him comparing Ivanka to her and saying that only Ivanka was prettier,” she said.
The woman did not respond to a voicemail seeking comment. The AP spoke in person twice with her husband, who said his wife did not wish to be interviewed, “doesn’t have a problem with Donald Trump” and denied she had been subjected to repeated, unwanted attention from Trump.
One former contestant, Tyana Alvarado, said she wasn’t offended when Trump told her she was attractive — but noted that he played by his own rules.
“Most men have to behave because they are in a workplace, but he could do what he wanted,” Alvarado said. “In all jobs, people have to sign sexual harassment paperwork, but Mr. Trump was putting on a TV show so he got to do it.”
The AP National Investigative Team can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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