'The Celebrity Apprentice' star Donald Trump fires Penn Jillette
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/23/2012
The Celebrity Apprentice star Donald Trump fired Penn Jillette during Sunday night's tenth episode of the celebrity competition's fifth season.
Trump fired the magician, comedian and former Dancing with the Stars participant after his Forte team lost the season's eleventh task, which required Forte and Unanimous, the opposing team, to each create an in-store display and slogan for the new fragrance "Success" by Trump to be displayed in Macy's department store. The displays were judged on creativity of the brand slogan, brand messaging and in store display presentation.
"I loved this whole experience, including tonight -- even including the 'getting fired' thing. I can tell you the rules of chess, but I can't tell you the rules of Celebrity Apprentice. And that's what's beautiful about it -- the fact that Donald Trump is a loose cannon and he also does what he wants and doesn't back down. I came up with the slogan and the executives didn't love it, and firing me for that is a valid reason as anything," Penn said following his elimination.
The Celebrity Apprentice's tenth fifth-season episode began following the ninth broadcast's elimination of Paul Teutul Sr. with Trump meeting with the season's remaining celebrity cast members and revealing what the task would be and then asking who would lead each team as the project manager.
Forte -- which consisted of Penn, Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza, comedienne Lisa Lampanelli, and former American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken -- forced Clay to step up and be their project manager because Penn declined the opportunity and no one else wanted to do it.
Meanwhile, Unanimous -- which was comprised of All About Aubrey and former Making the Band star Aubrey O'Day, former talk show host Arsenio Hall and The Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice -- had Aubrey take on the responsibility of being her team's project manager because she really wanted to win money for her charity.
Trump announced the winning team would receive $20,000 for the charity of its project manager's choice. However, Trump revealed a twist in which if he ended up really loving one team's slogan and display upon the task's completion, he'd offer that particular project manager $100,000 for his or her charity.
Both teams ended up working together extremely well overall but encountered some minor problems along the way.
Dayana came up with ideas for the display's picture which Clay thought were too sexual, while Arsenio and Aubrey disagreed over how they wanted to portray the fragrance via describing words and images.
Arsenio believed money, sex and power was the way to go in order to portray "success," but Aubrey believed it was key to sell "success" as being happy. Arsenio still clashed with Aubrey and thought she was very bossy although he didn't voice his concerns directly to her face.
In addition, Clay ran out of things to say during his team's presentation. The Trump fragrance executives asked him to continue talking when they had no questions for him, but Clay was already finished explaining everything he had planned to say.
The executives ended up really liking both in-store displays. For Unanimous, they thought Aubrey made a great host and her team came up with an excellent slogan of "trust your instincts." They also liked the fact the team gave out scented strips with the cologne sprayed on them. The executives thought her team's display lacked creativity and they hated the silhouette of Trump's son, Eric Trump, because they claimed they didn't know what it meant or represent.
For Forte, the judging panel thought the picture of Dayana was beautiful but oversized, and they hated the "you earned it" slogan. They believed the slogan was too pompous, while the display itself wasn't that great because the product wasn't prominently featured or accentuated.
After both teams planned and presented their in-store displays, they met with Trump in the boardroom and discussed their project managers.
Both teams initially deemed their project managers excellent and were convinced they had won the task. However, after both teams got to view their opponents' work, faces began to drop and they grew worried because both sides had done a very good job.
Trump then announced both Clay and Aubrey's teams were better in some respects than the other but neither lacked major weaknesses. As a result, he admitted he didn't love either project enough to grant his original $100,000 offer, so he decided to give $40,000 to the winning project manager and then $10,000 to everyone else sitting at the table.
While the contestants quickly celebrated, Trump then revealed Aubrey's Unanimous team had the better task and won the challenge. Aubrey told her fellow contestants the money would be going to her gay, lesbian, straight education network and their problems with cyber bullying.
Once Aubrey's team left the boardroom, Trump discussed with Forte who should get fired. Clay said he tried to lead the group by consensus, but Penn came up with the bad slogan of "you earned it" and pitched it strongly.
Each team member accepted equal responsibility for making the picture too large in comparison to the product, and Dayana spoke up and insisted she wanted to have a "takeaway" aspect to the display -- which the executives would have preferred -- but she was overruled.
Trump then asked Clay who he wanted to bring back into the boardroom with him, and Clay opted to have Penn and Dayana join him.
Penn admitted he came up with the slogan and understood that's why Clay asked him to come back into the boardroom, but Penn pushed the idea that Clay ultimately approved it as the project manager. When Trump asked Clay why he selected Dayana, he suggested she was often too aloof and standoffish in that she wasn't always present in the task.
However, Trump repeated the fact the executives loved Dayana's picture and thought her work was great. Clay agreed with Trump's assertion but also argued the fact he brought Dayana back into the boardroom with him because he was basing his decisions on the history of the competition and also who would be the strongest team members to work with going forward.
Clay said his two selections came down to the mere point he had to pick two people to bring back with him. Clay told Trump Penn was a brilliant mind that could be utilized in future tasks, while Dayana was used to sitting in the boardroom and wasn't as equipped to truly win The Celebrity Apprentice.
Trump noted it was Dayana's sixth time in the boardroom and asked her why she should stick around. She told him she always had suggestions that were pushed aside in the past, leaving her former project managers to assume and debate the fact she was never needed or useful during the tasks.
Penn also continued to fight for his position in the game. He claimed he had a lot of the ideas the executives liked even though he came up with the poor ones as well.
Penn told Trump the person with the ideas shouldn't be punished and then noted Clay should be fired but he was sad to say that aloud. Penn explained Clay was the project manager and therefore weighed the task's failure heavily upon his shoulders. Dayana agreed Clay should be fired.
Clay was frustrated because he said the only reason he stepped up to be the project manager was because he had "bigger balls" than Penn -- who refused to accept a leadership role for the task. After hearing everyone's concerns, Trump made his decision.
"We're not going forward because this has nothing to do with going forward. This has to do with the task we just completed and that you lost and you're the project manager," Trump told Clay.
"I want to fire Dayana, but I can't. I want to fire you, because you're the project manager, but I won't. I'm going to fire Penn. Penn, you're fired because you came up with the slogan," Trump declared.