Selita Ebanks and Michael Johnson cut from 'The Celebrity Apprentice'
By Reality TV World staff, 04/12/2010
Olympic gold-medal sprinter Michael Johnson and model Selita Ebanks became the fifth and sixth celebrities eliminated from The Celebrity Apprentice's third edition during Sunday night's two-hour broadcast.
Johnson was eliminated after The Apprentice star Donald Trump declined his request for a temporary leave of absence so that he could fly home to attend to a family matter involving his son while Trump fired Ebanks after her "Tenacity" women's team lost the competition's fifth task to the "Rocksolid" men's team.
"My only advice is watch out for that little conniving -- wow, did I say that out loud? -- Maria," Ebanks said about former WWE wrestling "diva" Maria Kanellis after Trump fired her.
"I've worked with some of the biggest divas in the world, honey. We're all cut from different cloths and you don't have to be a negative person to get ahead. Tacky."
Actress Holly Robinson Peete and Australian celebrity chef Curtis Stone had served as the teams' project managers for the task, which required the teams to create a 30-second television commercial and a 10-second Internet ad for a new men's deodorant product.
Johnson left the competition shortly before the task's winning team was revealed when -- for reasons that weren't really made clear -- Trump decided to not to allow Johnson a temporary leave of absence similar to those that he had already given women's team members Cyndi Lauper, who missed most of the fifth task to attempt a hate-crimes law signing in Washington, and Sharon Osbourne, who missed the entire task due to illness.
"What is the problem, you fighting with the wife?" Trump asked Johnson.
"Ah... it's just a personal issue," John replied. "If this was avoidable I would certainly stay with these guys. I'm hoping I can come back, I should know when I get there and get on the ground."
But although he'd presumably be able to make a determination within a day or two at most, Trump objected to Johnson's plan to call and let him know if he'd be able to return.
"I don't think it helps if you come back because I think you will have missed too much time," Trump told Johnson. "You won't be able to compete. It's not fair to the other people because people will be fired in between and I think that's not fair to the rest of the team, right?"
"Sure... no, you're exactly right," said Johnson, who then exchanged goodbyes with the rest of his stunned teammates and left the competition.
However after it was revealed that "Tenacity" lost the task, Trump suddenly had no such fairness concerns when Peete asked if, as the losing project manager, she could select Lauper (who only participated in the last few hours of the task) or Osbourne (who missed the entire task as well as the boardroom session) to return to the boardroom to face firing alongside her.
"No, let's leave them alone for right now. One's sick and the other one was with the President. So what am I going to do, it's tough right?," he said.
"Cyndi was with the President of the United States. I won't fire her, [but] bring her back if you want," Trump added when Peete asked for further clarification. "And we're going to give Sharon a pass for a little while longer."
Faced with no other choice but Olympic gold-medal swimmer Summer Sanders, Peete then selected Ebanks and Kanellis, who had previously noted that Selita had not helped the rest of the women unload their prop truck prior to shooting their commercials.
"Yeah, I was there at the time and it had surprised me quite a bit because this is a contest. You really have to put out a little more," The Apprentice advisor George Ross had replied.
And after deliberating on the decision and having Peete, Ebanks and Kanellis return to the boardroom, Trump agreed with Ross' comment.
"It just seems to me that Holly and Maria are much stronger in terms of their ability to fight," Trump said after Ebanks mounted a weak defense to Ross' comments.
"Here's the problem I have. I'm looking at Holly and you're a strong, tough, smart woman. I'm looking at Maria and she's a strong, smart, tough woman. [And] I'm looking at Selita and I don't I don't see the same fire. Therefore I have no choice -- Selita, you're fired!"