The Apprentice Producers Say They Can't Release Trump Tapes

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Producer Mark Burnett and MGM won't be releasing those Apprentice tapes any time soon. Trump, at a campaign stop Monday, essentially confirmed that there are many more instances of him saying inappropriate things on camera. Burnett and MGM don't deny that there could be further evidence of Trump acting out on tapes. But they won't release them, and Burnett wants to be clear that he never threatened legal action, contradicting earlier reports.

Here's their statement, released late Monday.

“MGM owns Mark Burnett’s production company and The Apprentice is one of its properties. Despite reports to the contrary, Mark Burnett does not have the ability nor the right to release footage or other material from The Apprentice. Various contractual and legal requirements also restrict MGM’s ability to release such material. The recent claims that Mark Burnett has threatened anyone with litigation if they were to leak such material are completely and unequivocally false. To be clear, as previously reported in the press, which Mark Burnett has confirmed, he has consistently supported Democratic campaigns.”

Now, it's entirely possible that Burnett has never threatened legal action because he's never had to. Whomever has access to the footage has presumably signed reams upon reams of non-disclosure agreements. So that piece of the statement seems irrelevant. And the rest of it is a classic non-denial denial. (We can't, legal restrictions, whatever.)

The early assumption is that the tapes could be much worse for Trump than the genital-grabbing incident. The Huffington Post obtained one of the tapes and while Trump is his usual sleazy self, there doesn't appear to be anything on the level of bragging about committing sexual assault. We'd recommend against clicking that link if things like "Donald Trump describing himself as a 'skin man'" fundamentally upset you. They certainly do us.

The only reasonable assumption to draw is that there are damning moments of audio and video on the unreleased tapes. Were there none, Trump wouldn't be so casually confirming that additional material exists. Not only that, but it appears he can't get out of bed in the morning without insulting a woman or minority. If $5 million is all that's separating Trump and complete immolation, we're guessing that any leaker will have Super PACs lining up at his or her door to hand him or her reams of cash. But the calculus is clearly that Trump will likely sue whomever he can, and that they don't want to piss off a guy who could theoretically just chuck them in jail should the country go completely insane and elect him to office.

Whatever their reasons, they'll be balancing them against the stakes of electing someone comfortable with perpetuating racist lies to the most powerful seat in the world.

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