This Story About Donald Trump Hitting On Marlee Matlin Is Particularly Disturbing

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Marlee Matlin is an Academy Award-winning actress, New York Times best-selling author, and prominent member of the National Association of the Deaf, as she has been deaf since she was 18 months old. She's also a married mother of four, and in 2011 competed on Celebrity Apprentice season 11.

While on the show, host Donald Trump often made comments about her appearance and hit on her numerous times, a fellow contestant, Robert Hatch, details to People in a new interview. In the midst of all the other gross things the presidential candidate has said about women, most notably on the Apprentice shows, the story surrounding his interactions with Matlin are particularly upsetting.

Since Matlin is deaf, she depends on the assistance of her interpreter, Jack Jason, to understand what everyone is saying around her, which includes: arguments with other contestants, making negotiations, and yes, hearing Trump's come-ons through Jason. Hatch describes how "odd and weird" the whole situation was when Trump used Matlin's interpreter to say pick-up lines. Hatch said he wondered how Jason felt, but it was obvious that Trump paid it no mind. “It was a lot of innuendo, far beyond the norm," he explains. "It was odd and weird, and people in the boardroom would look at one another, but he didn’t care. [Matlin] was with her interpreter, Jack, and I thought, ‘Gosh, I wonder if he’s comfortable with this?'"

"Watching him in the boardroom making sexual comments to Marlee Matlin, to all of the women on the Apprentice, it was obvious that that’s just a part of who he is,” Hatch continues. “It was obvious and it was grotesque. It was blatant and it was frequent. He did it with Lisa Rinna [season 4]; He did it with Marlee Matlin. He did it with whomever happened to be there at the time."

For Matlin particularly, "No matter how she responded, no matter how politely, he would push it a step further with comments about her looks, and how she was making him feel, and about what he thought of her, and how happy he would be to do something with her." Matlin was ultimately fired in the season finale.

People also included the response from Trump's press secretary (which of course included a dig about Hatch's reliability): "Marlee Matlin is such a nice person, and Mr. Trump has great respect for her, but this report is completely false. Just take a look at Richard Hatch’s record, or lack thereof.”

All that's necessary to verify whether or not these claims are true is for the show's B-roll and extra footage to be released. After the 2005 Access Hollywood audio was released, there has been even more pressure on MGM and the former reality show boss, Mark Burnett, to produce tapes. But Burnett and the network are saying that it is not within their power to do so. MGM said in a statement on October 10 that “various contractual and legal requirements also restrict MGM’s ability to release such material.”

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