He’s asking for it. The way he talks, the way he acts… It made them want it. Irrepressible feminist reaction. Latina activist Dolores Huerta, women’s rights lawyer Gloria Allred and two other women’s rights advocates went to MGM studios headquarters in Beverly Hills on Tuesday to ask for the release of footage from ‘The Apprentice’ TV show, assuming it could enlighten voters a little bit more about Donald Trump.
Biased as I am during this election, I couldn’t help but join the party (and it cost me 8 dollars for 30 minutes of parking in this rich city where any form of social protest is pretty short living).
Why targeting this show in particular? “Donald Trump was the star on it for eleven years, they have hours and hours of recorded material”, Gloria Allred told me on the sidewalk near MGM’s entrance. The Clinton supporter thinks releasing the outtakes is “a civic duty” because Trump “has made a campaign issue of his attitude about women, African Americans, Latina/os, and other marginalized groups by his own statements and political proposals”.
“Everyone, whether they’re democrats, republicans, Green party supporters or libertarians, has a right to know what this man has to say behind the scenes”, she said.
Allred, known for defending victims against high profile and quite untouchable people like comedian Bill Cosby or director Roman Polanski, also affirmed that several women contacted her claiming they have been victimized by Trump (she didn’t provide any more details). She probably could consider filing a lawsuit on their behalf and ask the tapes via a subpoena, but that would take a lot more time than what’s left between now and the election on November 8.
So she decided to do something she’s very used to: a call to the media.
A supporter of Hillary Clinton since 2008, Gloria Allred was backed by Carolyn Fowler, from the California Democratic Party Women’s Causus, as well as Jerilyn Stapleton, from the National Organization for Women (NOW), and the labor leader and role model in the Latino community Dolores Huerta, known for being the cofounder of United Farm Workers.
The four women – two Whites, one Black and one Hispanic – took the microphone in front of the MGM building in Beverly Hills, one block from the luxury of Rodeo Drive, where the regular crowd is far less diverse. They staged a press conference before attempting to deliver an open letter to the president of MGM Television, Mark Burnett, who produces ‘The Apprentice’ for NBC. But as the security guards at the entrance didn’t let them in, the letter was going to be sent by mail.
In this document, they write that “the ugly truth about Donald Trump (has) finally come to light”, mentioning the release of the Access Hollywood tape that “shocked voters by revealing what Donald Trump really thinks about women”. In that video from 2005, Trump is heard and seen saying he could “do anything” to a woman, including “grabbing her by the pussy”, words he later described as “locker room talk” for which he expressed regrets.
But Bill Pruitt, a former producer of ‘The Apprentice’, said on Twitter that Trump made “far worse” comments on the show outtakes. This is why the feminist advocates believe Burnett has “the evidence” of Donald Trump’s “hate speech, rampant misogyny, or wrongdoing”. This evidence is, according to them, “directly relevant to the decision US voters are about to make” because it “speaks not only to his character, but to his ability to lead a nation and command a government”.
Mark Burnett and MGM have refused to release the footage, citing “various contractual and legal requirements”. An argument that Gloria Allred rejected, saying she was ready to sit down with Burnett or his attorneys during a meeting “in which (he) would explain in detail the specifics of those claimed restrictions and/or prohibitions”.
She also suggested during the press conference that he could disclose these legal restrictions to a panel of three retired judges who would determine if they can be released. Overall, she argued that “the compelling public interest overrides any confidentiality clauses”.
Ten years ago, Gloria Allred published an autobiography entitled “Fight Back and Win” where she tells about a rape at gunpoint she suffered while on vacation in Mexico when she was about 25 years old. At that time, she was a teacher in the Watts neighborhood of L.A., and she didn’t file a complaint because she thought nobody would believe her. Afterwards, she enrolled in a law school and became an attorney specialized in discrimination and domestic violence cases.