8:41am PT by Kimberly Nordyke
Watch Donald Trump Fire Keshia Knight Pulliam for Not Calling Bill Cosby on 'Celebrity Apprentice'
Bill Cosby unknowingly played a role in Keshia Knight Pulliam's getting fired from The Celebrity Apprentice in Sunday night's episode.
The whole thing came up after Pulliam's team lost the first challenge, and they were being grilled by Donald Trump in the boardroom. He questioned why Pulliam didn't raise more money for her team as project manager and admonished her for not leveraging her connection with the scandal-plagued comedian. But the former Cosby Show co-star said she hadn't spoken to her one-time TV dad in years.
"I have not talked to Bill Cosby on the phone in I don't know how long," she told Trump in the season premiere of NBC's reality competition. "So for me to pick up the phone, having not talked to you for five years, except for when we run into each other for a Cosby event — I feel that's not my place to do."
But Trump wasn't buying it, telling her right before firing her: "I really believe if you'd called that gentleman, he would've helped you, even if you hadn't spoken to him in years, 'cause you were an amazing team with one of the most successful shows ever. So I think it would've been a very good call to make for charity. But you have to take responsibility. I think you agree with that."
The episode was shot in March 2014, before Cosby became the target of a recent wave of sexual assault allegations from several women, including Beverly Johnson and Janice Dickinson. Trump noted that on Twitter after the episode aired.
This show was taped just before the terrible Bill Cosby revelations came to light.She still should have asked him for money-goes to charity.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 5, 2015
Meanwhile, Judd Apatow, who has been very vocal in his criticism of Cosby, replied to Trump on Twitter and noted that the accusations have been out there for some time.
.@realDonaldTrump she didn't because she probably hates him. She has know for years that he is an awful person. Accusations started in 05.— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) January 5, 2015
.@RunSpotsRun NBC and Trump knew it was creepy and would get talked about. Now she will get asked about it on the Today Show.— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) January 5, 2015
On Monday, Pulliam did appear on NBC's Today, where she addressed the allegations against Cosby.
"What I can say is this: I wasn't there," she said. "No one was there except for the two people who know exactly what happened. All I can speak to is the man that I know and I love."
She added: "Ultimately, they're just that — allegations. You know, it's very much been played out in the court of public opinion. But we're still in America, where ultimately you're innocent until proven guilty. I wasn't there. That's just not the man I know. So I can't speak to it."
The first challenge on each season premiere of Celebrity Apprentice is typically fundraiser-driven. This isn't the first time Trump has scolded someone for not using their celebrity connections to raise more money.
Meanwhile, Pulliam didn't go home empty-handed: Trump gave her $25,000 of his own money for her charity, Kamp Kizzy, which works with young people to boost self-esteem and empower them to reach their full potential.
Watch highlights below, courtesy of Vulture.