The Apprentice creator Mark Burnett has issued a fiery follow-up statement amid continued media speculation that he might control unaired footage that could embarrass Donald Trump and that he’s unwilling to release it.
Earlier today, media mogul Barry Diller seemed to blast Burnett and Apprentice owner MGM’s previous missive claiming they could not release any Apprentice unaired footage for legal reasons, with Diller calling it “total bulls—.”
Burnett said in a new statement: “Given all of the false media reports, I feel compelled to clarify a few points. I am not now and have never been a supporter of Donald Trump’s candidacy. I am NOT ‘Pro-Trump.’ Further, my wife and I reject the hatred, division, and misogyny that has been a very unfortunate part of his campaign.”
MGM’s counsel, Marvin S. Putnam of Latham & Watkins, added as part of the statement: “MGM, not Mark Burnett, owns The Apprentice. MGM has agreements with artists across a wide spectrum of creative properties, including The Apprentice. These agreements typically contain provisions related to confidentiality and artist’s rights. MGM has every intention of complying with its agreements with artists and honoring their rights, including with respect to The Apprentice.”
Previously Buzzfeed posted a story claiming Burnett was a Trump supporter and was trying to keeping potentially revealing footage secret by threatening employees who might leak it. On Monday, Burnett and MGM released a joint statement denying that Burnett was capable of releasing any such footage: “MGM owns Mark Burnett’s production company, and The Apprentice is one of its properties. 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. To be clear, as previously reported in the press, which Mark Burnett has confirmed, he has consistently supported Democratic campaigns.”
Diller was asked by Politico about the statement and replied, “There are no legal obligations. To who? For what? I mean, the legal obligations are they own the copyright. They can do whatever they want with it.”
The hunt for embarrassing Trump footage from his 11 seasons hosting The Apprentice kicked into high gear after last Friday’s release of a now-infamous Access Hollywood tape from 2005 that showed the Republican presidential candidate making lewd and sexually aggressive statements about women.