Somehow, the country music world has found itself at the center of the latest controversy of the heated presidential race. According to transcripts from unaired segments of a 2010 episode of NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice, Republican nominee Donald Trump made disparaging remarks about the appearance – specifically the skin – of singer Emily West. West and Luke Bryan guest starred in the installment of the reality series.
“I assume you’re gonna leave this off, don’t put this shit on the show, you know,” says Trump, according to the transcript obtained by the Huffington Post. “But her skin, her skin sucks, OK? I mean her skin, she needs some serious fuckin’ dermatology.”
The transcribed episode, titled “Beauty and Brains,” centered on a makeover and promotional campaign for a country artist. West’s team was headed by Season Nine contestant Cyndi Lauper, who came to West’s defense during the exchange with Trump, insisting the photographs of West used by the team not be touched up or airbrushed. She also suggested that Trump was reacting to something that was “not her skin.”
“Fuck,” Trump says. “That’s Emily, that’s what I’m hearing about? Let me see the other one. I assume you’re not putting this on the show. ‘Cause I don’t wanna destroy the kid’s career.”
Also documented in the transcript is country star Trace Adkins, the Season Seven Celebrity Apprentice winner who appeared as a guest judge in the episode. Adkins was asked by Trump what he thought about brochures produced by each team.
“Well I, um, I, I think the one they did for Emily is a little more polished-looking,” Adkins said.
“You’re obviously not a skin man,” Trump said, later reiterating the point by pounding the table and adding, “which is OK. I wish I wasn’t.”
On the subject of Bryan, Trump is quoted as saying, “Personally, I am, as you probably heard, not a gay man, but I think he’s better looking [than] Emily, OK?”
The alleged transcript follows last Friday’s release of a 2005 audiotape of an explicit conversation with then-Access Hollywood correspondent Billy Bush in which Trump is heard bragging that he could grab women “by the pussy.” Bush has since been suspended from his current duties as a host on NBC’s Today.
It remains unclear how many transcripts exist of past episodes of Celebrity Apprentice and its parent show, The Apprentice, and just how much of that material consists of transcribed moments that remain unaired.
The show’s executive producer, Mark Burnett, in a statement released to CNN’s Brian Stelter on Monday, said he has neither “the ability nor the right” to release video or audio recordings related to The Apprentice. Additionally, the statement says MGM, which owns Burnett’s production company, is also restricted from releasing audiovisual material.
In 2008, West hit the country charts with the single “Rocks in Your Shoes.” Later, “Blue Sky,” a duet with Keith Urban, her then-labelmate at Capitol Nashville, made waves in 2010. In 2014, she appeared on America’s Got Talent, where she was voted runner-up, and in 2015 released the single “Bitter,” followed by the full-length LP All for You. She recently signed to the independent label Deluge Music.