Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, tagged as an imperious diva on “The Apprentice,” criticized the NBC reality show for stereotyping her and other black contestants.
“Once you start looking at how all the black men are lazy and laid-back and nonassertive and nonaggressive and all the black women are quite the opposite, I think there is a pattern,” she said Wednesday.
Speaking at an NBC teleconference for another reality show, Manigault-Stallworth said she wasn’t “sassing” executive producer Mark Burnett but contended that the show’s editing was to blame.
Burnett fired back when asked to respond.
“How insulting to other African-Americans,” Burnett told The Associated Press. “What African-American man have we shown to be lazy? None of them. Kwame almost won the whole thing.”
Burnett referred to Kwame Jackson, the runner-up to winner Bill Rancic in the first edition of “The Apprentice.” On the show’s second season, the only black male contestant was among the final four.
Manigault-Stallworth, part of a Feb. 28 episode of “Fear Factor” featuring reality show contestants, competed for a job with Donald Trump in “The Apprentice’s” debut season.
She was fairly depicted, Burnett said Wednesday.
He said he would advise her to “take responsibility for your own behavior and stop disparaging other African-Americans.”
Manigault-Stallworth was no friend to Jackson in the contest, Burnett said.
During Jackson’s final “Apprentice” test, staging a concert with Jessica Simpson, Manigault-Stallworth flubbed transportation for the pop singer and appeared to fib about it. Jackson said later he thought she’d lied.
Manigault-Stallworth said this season continued the manipulation of contestant images. When black contestants don’t fit a certain perception, they tend to be ignored, she said.
She’s spoken with a black female contestant who’s dissatisfied with her treatment, she said. She didn’t identify the woman, but a subsequent comment indicated she was referring to Tara, a New York City government manager.
“She was kind of crying, saying, ‘They’re not showing me at all and I did all the right things,”’ Manigault-Stallworth said.
“She’s well-behaved, well-spoken, she doesn’t argue with anybody,” Manigault-Stallworth said, and she is getting “absolutely no air time.”
Burnett said contestants tend to receive more camera time when their future on the show appears in question.
“I think this is more of an extension of what’s happening overall in Hollywood,” Manigault-Stallworth said. “There’s not a whole lot of roads for black women on television, and the roads that are presented don’t always seem to be positive.”
She’s said she’s writing and pitching projects because black women need to “tell our own stories” with positive images.
Burnett is a dominant figure in reality TV whose other projects include “Survivor” and the upcoming boxing show “The Contender.” One of the boxers committed suicide after filming, a tragedy that Burnett said was unrelated to the series.