Ongoing 'Apprentice' catfight gets uglier as Omarosa makes unsupported racial slur allegation
By Reality TV World staff, 03/12/2004
The ongoing media tussle between former The Apprentice contestant Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth and her fellow former contestants rocketed up several notches in the past two days as Omarosa alleged to have been the victim of an on-camera racial slur by an "unnamed contestant" which she alluded to be Ereka Vetrini -- an allegation that NBC, the show's producer, Ereka, and even Donald Trump himself all quickly refuted.
Omarosa's allegation -- which would appear to be completely false and quite slanderous given the near immediate comments of denial from numerous other key Apprentice parties -- came during a Wednesday appearance on ABC's syndicated The View daytime series.
When being asked by View co-host Star Jones about why Omarosa had accused Ereka of using "racist terms" when Ereka commented that "the pot [was] calling the kettle black" in an early episode of the series, The New York Postreported that Omarosa replied "I was responding to a much, much worse term than that, that I won't even say because it's so repulsive."
After Jones followed up the cryptic insinuation with "Did someone call you an ugly name?" Omarosa responded with "It was the 'N' word and it was unfortunate, because I'd never been called that in my life so it was just one of my worst experiences on that show," setting off a firestorm of activity that included an immediate terse statement of denial from NBC, fellow View co-host (and former Survivor: Australia contestant) Elisabeth Hasselbeck placing a call to Apprentice and Survivor executive producer Mark Burnett, an appearance by Ereka on Thursday's View program, denials from other fellow contestants, and a near-outright accusation that Omarosa was lying from Donald Trump himself.
"NBC is unaware of any such incident," said NBC in an statement released on Wednesday in response to Omarosa, who since her ouster from the hit NBC series during last week's episode has spent the last week doing numerous media interviews in an attempt to rehabilitate a reputation for exaggeration, controversy, laziness, and having an extremely confrontational demeanor that was presented to the public during her appearance on the program.
On Thursday, the denials that such a comment was never made grew even stronger as other parties commented on the issue. During her hastily-arranged appearance on The View, a visibly upset Ereka opened her interview by stating "I'm here to tell you that Omarosa is lying and I can prove that she's lying" the Postreported today.
"That word doesn't exist in my vocabulary," Ereka told The View co-hosts. "You have to walk through this logic. It's reality TV, and we're on camera and audio 24/7... If me or any other contestant said something that vulgar or disgusting... it would be on TV. It's damn good TV." "And you all know Omarosa is outspoken. She would've gone to town on me, are you kidding? And why did she wait eight weeks to talk about it? I'm absolutely sick to my stomach about the whole thing."
Co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck also added that, after Omarosa made her allegation, she called Burnett to discuss the issue and that "he was horrified at the very suggestion... and told me he could not confirm that anywhere on the footage, on any tape, is Ereka using the 'N' word."
When contacted by The Post for additional comment yesterday, an egotistical Omarosa appeared to become increasingly agitated and nonsensical and continued to strike out at Ereka, who she clearly blames for much of her much of her negative characterization on the show.
"I never mentioned on The View what contestant I was referring to, so if it wasn't, why was she offered to go on that show and talk about something where her name was never mentioned?" she told the paper.
"I'm just going to move on," Omarosa said. Turning more insulting, she added "Ereka has no press, and I see this as a way she's trying to get back out in the press and exploit it. Ereka doesn't have a job or any job prospects on the horizon - she lives in her mother's basement, for crying out loud." "She's at home clipping articles about me. Her obsession with me is going to continue, and I don't want to feed into it."
Also on Thursday, Donald Trump voiced in with some comments to the New York Daily News, stopping just short of calling the claim a lie, but clearly doubting the truthfulness of Omarosa's allegation. "It's just something that wasn't caught on camera, and that's with up to 28 cameras going at one time, all the time," Trump told the paper. "With witnesses, nobody else has heard it," he added. "I think that if it happened, I'd be very disappointed that she didn't bring it to our attention. We're all trying to figure out why this wasn't brought to someone's attention a long time ago."
In an interview with the syndicated Inside Edition entertainment news magazine, The Donald was even more blunt. "Based on the footage it never happened. The footage is very conclusive” he said, as he once again questioned the timing of the accusation. “If it happened to you, you wouldn't wait until the last moment. You would bring it up right away.”
During an appearance on Friday morning's The View, newly ousted contestant Heidi Bressler also voiced her objection to Omarosa's claim, stating that Omarosa, who during the past week has pounded the media circuit with talk of plans for her own clothing line, talk show, and ways to extend her "brand," fabricated the incident and theorized that she simply made the comment hoping to gain additional publicity.