TV producer Mark Burnett faces increasing pressure to release unaired footages from the reality TV series "The Apprentice" that could apparently bring more damage to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
For the second time, Burnett reiterated his stand that he cannot release the said tapes from the TV series, which ran for 14 seasons. He issued a statement on Wednesday to clarify "media false reports" that he is a Trump supporter, saying he and his wife Roma Downey have never supported Trump.
He also emphasized that he does not own the unaired footages and has no right to release them. Burnett said legal contracts and requirements restrict him from giving other people access to the videos.
"Given all of the false media reports, I feel compelled to clarify a few points," Burnett told USA Today. "I am not now and have never been a supporter of Donald Trump's candidacy. I am NOT 'Pro-Trump.' Further, my wife (actress Roma Downey) and I reject the hatred, division and misogyny that has been a very unfortunate part of his campaign."
Media company MGM also issued a statement on Monday explaining why it is not possible to make the show's footages public.
"Despite reports to the contrary, Mark Burnett does not have the ability nor the right to release footage or other material from 'The Apprentice.' Various contractual and legal requirements also restrict MGM's ability to release such material. The recent claims that Mark Burnett has threatened anyone with litigation if they were to leak such material are completely and unequivocally false," MGM said.
The mounting presure for access to "The Apprentice" footages started when Bill Pruitt, a producer for the show's first and second seasons, took to Twitter and said that there are "far worse" Trump tapes in the show's archives. The leaked "Access Hollywood" lewd tape recorded on hot mic was apparently just the beginning.
"As a producer on seasons 1 & 2 of #theapprentice I assure you: when it comes to the #trumptapes there are far worse. #justthebeginning," Pruitt tweeted.
Days before the lewd tape from "Access Hollywood" came out, the Associated Press published a story featuring interviews with insiders from "The Apprentice," including former contestants, editors and crew, some of whom claimed Trump verbally demeaned women in the show and rated them by their breast size.
Randal Pinkett, who won the reality show in 2005, said Trump talked to him about which of the women contestants he wanted to sleep with.
"He was like 'Isn't she hot, check her out,' kind of gawking, something to the effect of 'I'd like to hit that,'" Pinkett said, according to the Associated Press.
However, not everyone gave negative comments. Softball player and former contestant Jennie Finch said Trump did give compliments but "never in an inappropriate way."
"He was extremely supportive. You could tell there was so much respect there on all sides, especially with the female athletes," the two-time Olympian said. "Obviously, he was complimentary, but never in an inappropriate way."