'The Celebrity Apprentice' star Donald Trump fires George Takei
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/05/2012
The Celebrity Apprentice star Donald Trump fired George Takei during Sunday night's third episode of the celebrity reality competition's fifth season.
Trump fired the actor after his Unanimous men's team lost the season's third task, which required Unanimous and Forte, the men's team, to each design and create two living-window displays in Fifth Avenue's Lord & Taylor for the clothing and accessory line of Trump's daughter and advisor Ivanka Trump. The window displays were judged by Ivanka and based on three criteria: creativity, brand messaging and overall presentation.
"Donald Trump is a very rare individual and to be invited by him to participate was a thrilling experience. Being fired is no fun. It is excruciating. But I was the project manager. I held the responsibility for the success or failure of our team. We failed and I have to make my peace with it," George said following his ouster.
The Celebrity Apprentice's third fifth-season episode began following last episode's elimination of Victoria Gotti with Trump meeting with the season's remaining celebrity cast members and revealing what the living-window display task would entail and asking who would be each team's project manager.
The women's team Forte -- which was comprised of The Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice; comedienne Lisa Lampanelli; former Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza; All About Aubrey and former Making the Band star Aubrey O'Day; actress and model Patricia Velasquez; singer, actress and former Skating with Celebrities participant Debbie Gibson; and actress and former Dancing with the Stars participant Tia Carrere -- had Dayana step up to be their project manager because she was a model and knew the industry well.
The men's team Unanimous -- which consisted of George; former talk show host Arsenio Hall; singer and former American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken; actor and former The Incredible Hulk star Lou Ferrigno; magician, comedian and former Dancing with the Stars participant Penn Jillette; rock star and former Growing Up Twisted star Dee Snider; racecar driver Michael Andretti's father Michael; and American Chopper star Paul Teutul Sr. -- ended up deciding George should take on the role of project manager bluntly because he was "gay" and paid much attention to detail.
Radio host and former Dancing with the Stars participant Adam Carolla returned from his absence last week.
The winning team would receive $20,000 for the charity of its project manager's choice.
Both teams worked extremely well together overall but encountered some small problems along the way in order to create successful window displays. Forte, who created a giant clock to express how Ivanka's clothing line was "timeless" and women could look great no matter what they chose to wear at any given time, were tight on time and photos they needed for the backdrop mysteriously went missing.
Meanwhile, Unanimous -- who hired three sets of twins to model ensembles for both the day and night -- had to deal with Dee missing from the action because he had to get surgery on his finger that he broke during a horse stunt featured in last week's episode.
In addition, George wasn't showing strong leadership skills, as he gave up so much authority to his teammates that he basically didn't serve much of a significant role himself in the planning and execution.
After both teams were finished presented their living-window displays, they met with Trump in the boardroom. Dayana and George both deemed their teams as the winners, but then Trump revealed that Forte was the champion for the first time. Forte's money would be donated to Dayana's selected charity the Latino Commission on AIDS.
Dayana's victory was of vital importance to her position on the team because she admitted to Trump there were no weak players that she could name on her team to bring back to the boardroom with her if her team was to lose.
Trump then discussed with the Unanimous team where they had gone wrong and what mistakes may have cost them the win. Trump's son and advisor Donald Trump Jr. told the team that although their display was creative and featured prominent brand messaging, one of their windows was hard to see because it was painted in a "midnight blue" color, it felt empty and the clothing selections were not appropriate for a red carpet setting.
The team members then came forward about who was to blame for those problems. Arsenio was responsible for picking out the models' outfits, Lou picked out a bad color for the display background and George had the ultimate say on all of it as the project manager.
Lou told Trump he would fire Arsenio, while Paul said he'd fire George. Clay was then hesitant to admit that George "wasn't always present" in what was happening and his lack of guidance caused his teammates to find their own strengths when carrying through with decisions and tasks -- meaning George failed to delegate specific jobs and exert his voice on the project.
Arsenio then threw himself under the bus and said the loss was his fault because he styled the models poorly thinking that he couldn't go wrong with choosing any articles of clothing from Ivanka's line.
The men then left the boardroom and George opted to take Arsenio and Lou back into the boardroom.
George told Trump that Lou often misunderstood directions, making it difficult to rely on him for anything important. Lou resented that comment and said he gave 110% percent. While George agreed that Lou was enthusiastic, he told Trump Lou just wasn't comprehending his instructions and therefore, wasn't producing.
Arsenio then told The Celebrity Apprentice star that George wasn't in control of both window locations to critique anything that could have potentially been changed or improved. Donald Jr. then noted George could have also consulted with Ivanka to utilize her opinions on the models' styling, which wasn't a task Arsenio was assigned to or should have been ontop of himself.
After absorbing and taking into account everything his teammates were saying, George owned up to not overseeing everything well and regretted not being more of an active contributor to his team as its project manager.
"Yes, ultimately, the leader has to take responsibility. I would like to preface that by saying this has been, as excruciating as this process is, one of the richest experiences that I have had. I've met some extraordinary individuals who I hope I can continue to be in contact with and perhaps have friendships grow," George told Trump.
"So are you assuming that you're going to be fired?" Trump asked the actor in response.
"That's all that I can assume now at this point," George replied.
"Is that because on the merits you think you should be fired?" Trump questioned.
"Well, I had the responsibility," George said.
"And by the way, in no way are you quitting. I fully understand that," Trump said. "You are not a quitter."
"I am not quitting," George confirmed. "I would love to be here."
"You are tough. You are strong. You're amazing. In a certain way, you are a great project manager," Trump explained.
After both Lou and Arsenio expressed their respect and admiration for George, Trump made his decision.
"You know who else has the most respect for you George? Donald Trump. But George, you're fired," Trump announced.
George noted his only regret was not doing more for his Japanese-American National Museum charity. He then said his goodbyes and departed.
(Photo credit NBC)
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