Donald Trump fired Keshia Knight Pulliam for not calling on Bill Cosby

Keshia Knight Pulliam

Donald Trump upped his “ugh” factor on last night’s season premiere of Celebrity Apprentice. Keshia Knight Pulliam got axed right away. You may remember her best for her role as wee Rudy Huxtable on The Cosby Show. Now she’s going to be known as the actress fired from Donald Trump’s reality show at the height of the Bill Cosby scandal. This shouldn’t reflect badly upon Keshia — but it makes Donald and his hairpiece look even worse than usual.

Trump ditched Keshia from the show because she didn’t call on Cosby for money. This episode filmed about a year ago before all of the resurrected revelations about Cosby. What’s disturbing about this episode is that editors decided not to edit out Trump’s reasoning. He asked an uncomfortable Keshia why she didn’t contact dear old Cosby. She insisted that she raised money from “people I felt can deliver the quickest.” Vulture has the rundown of what went down. Trump fired Keshia for one reason — because she failed to use Cosby to help her get ahead:

…[A]n excruciating three minutes for anyone even vaguely aware of the Cosby rape scandal. The Trumps, Morgan, and Pulliam’s team took her to task for not calling Bill Cosby and asking him for money.

“Did you call Bill?” the elder Trump asked her.

“I did not,” Pulliam said, crying. “I have not talked to Bill Cosby on the phone in I don’t know how long. 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.”

That defense wasn’t good enough for Trump, who went on to fire her, specifically because she refused to call Cosby. “I really believe, if you’d called that gentleman, he would’ve helped you, even if you hadn’t spoken to him in years,” Trump said, “because 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.”

[From Vulture]

Yeah, this is disturbing. Even if we hadn’t learned about all the new-old allegations against Cosby, Donald Trump acted ridiculous by demanding Keshia use long-dead working relationships to get ahead. Trump is an executive producer of the show, so he definitely has some say in what makes an episode’s final cut. Despite the mounting list of allegations and all of Cosby’s efforts at manipulation, Trump was still cool with letting the audience hear how powerful he thinks Bill Cosby is.

This isn’t the first time Trump said something dumb in relation to Cosby. In November, Trump reacted to the avalanche of sexual assault stories by saying that Bill needed to hire different PR people.

Here’s the clip from last night’s episode of Celebrity Apprentice.

Donald Trump

Bill Cosby

Photos courtesy of WENN

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76 Responses to “Donald Trump fired Keshia Knight Pulliam for not calling on Bill Cosby”

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  1. Talie says:

    Of course he wouldn’t cut it… he’s shameless! He knew it would cause a ruckus.

  2. doofus says:

    wow, she became a beautiful young woman.

    and maybe, just maybe…she had her reasons for not calling him BESIDES the long-dead working relationship.

    • Kitten says:

      Yep this.

    • Rhiley says:

      She is pretty well rounded as well. I think she graduated from Spelman.

    • Shambles says:

      @Doofus- my first thought exactly.

    • MaiGirl says:

      Me too. There has been dead silence from everyone related to the Cosby Show but the producers (who basically CYA’ed with “he wasn’t like that around us!”, because rapists totally broadcast their rape-y tendencies to people who could potentially expose them, natch!), and I think that is TOTALLY telling.

      I have so re-thought my position about Lisa Bonet. It used to seem like she was ungrateful and full of herself, but I think there was much, much more to it. I kind of want to atone by wearing a T-shirt that says “Team Denise!”

    • lucy2 says:

      Yeah, I’m thinking the same thing too. She obviously has her reasons.

      Hope she looks at the bright side – getting fired early means less time staring at that carnival barker’s radioactive hair.

    • Kiki04 says:

      + 1

      Trump is such a slimeball. I think the upside is that she doesn’t have to cater to him or spend more time on the show. I cannot imagine how desperate you have to be in life to go on the Apprentice as a “celebrity”

  3. Renee says:

    I think that she is a beautiful young woman and I wish that she hadn’t gone on this show in the first place. I wish her tons of future success and opportunities. Donald Trump is a troll, and is the third person that I will nominate for the rocket to the sun this morning.

    • The Other Katherine says:

      Who are #s 1 and 2, if I may ask? Because I have a long list of people for my own rocket to the sun — maybe we can team up. (Don’t f*** with Wendy Testaburger!!!)

      • Renee says:

        For today, the first two are Kid Rock and Snoop Dog/Lion. Then I nominated Trump, and then Nerdmomma nominated Madonna. Sarah Palin is going to get a first class ticket, and I think that Iggy Azalea will too. It’s a jumbo jet, so there should be plenty of room for your list. We can always add a few more flights, LOL!!!

      • MaiGirl says:

        Renee, I cosign all of your choices. Great list!

      • Kiki04 says:

        Are you still taking nominations? Can we add Kate Gosselin to that flight? Pretty please?

      • Lucky Charm says:

        But will there be room on there for all of them AND their huge ego’s? Or will those be in the baggage hold? And can we just send Kim Kardashian along for good measure?

  4. LonnieTinks says:

    One of the most damning pieces of evidence against Bill Cosby, IMO, is that NOT A SINGLE cast member from the Cosby Show has come forward to defend him. If One of my good friends, loved ones, or co-workers was accused of a crime that I believed they didn’t commit, I would shout my support from the roof tops, but not one of them has uttered a single word. That says a lot.

    • GracePM says:

      The silence is deafening.

    • Loopy says:

      I know right? Even Phylicica Rashaad would of stepped up seeing how she played his wife for years but nothing. And I wonder why Lisa Bonette was so rebellious towards him.

    • Liane says:

      That’s how I’ve been thinking too. They may not know for sure what happened. And maybe/hopefully nothing ever happened to them. But I bet any concerns they had back in the day about how he behaved or rumours they heard make sense to them now.

      • Debbie says:

        I think the Lisa bonet scandal of the 80s is much more interesting now. I really wonder what happened with her for real now. But I highly doubt the stories of her being difficult are true anymore, I think something happened to her or she knew something.

        But the silence is telling, and frankly her reaction to the name Bill Cosby is telling. She seemed scared to speak with him in that clip.

    • PunkyMomma says:

      Agree, with this completely – the silence of his female costars is a condemnation in itself.

      • wolfpup says:

        This situation will not be resolved until strong women insists that the “rulers” of the planet play fair! In many ways, I feel that this hits the very heart of feminism. Powerful sleazeball men maintain their self-image by degrading women. They look “all-powerful” by their abilities to rape and plunder the feminine. Perhaps this enhanced ruthlessness is a guiding light in all their affairs (earth plundering). That would explain Donald’s idea of getting ahead, or patting his friend Cosby on the back. The old male club…

        This may be the underbelly of their power: It is so consistent with male figures in power throughout historical time. Women, not the government (currently comprising a majority of men), are the ones who have to cry holy hell until it stops! This systemic abuse of women has existed almost since the dawn of time; and ladies, to carry this planet ahead to the future, we would do well to eradicate the idea that rich men can have feeding frenzies on the hearts, minds, and bodies of very young, and inexperienced women. We are not to be bought sold, and traded. (duhr!) Jolie talks about these feeding frenzies in war; but the war is in our boardrooms. I would love to see this issue disappear in my lifetime. I have a major hunch that if the men at the top were not able to smear the face of a woman, there would be a trickle down effect to the ranks. Woman comprise half of the planet, and our loudest and most strident and logical must be at the fore. This is an evolutionary issue! These bad ideas need to be eradicated from off the face of the earth, and honestly, *only women can do this*. (Men are having too much fun and see no need – it’s just sexxx). We wouldn’t have allowed them to get away with this when we were in 5th grade! What is male power, *really*?

    • Ginger says:

      This whole thing makes me ponder and look back at why Lisa Bonet left the show and didn’t come back until she was on the short lived spin off. Supposedly she was fired for clashing with Cosby. Didn’t she leave A Different World because she was pregnant with Zoe? It just makes me curious what her “clashes” with Cosby were really about. She’s never said a word in decades right?

      • K.A says:

        Just to clarify, Lisa Bonet’s tenure on A Different World was short lived, but the show went on for many years without her. From what I understand, Cosby and Bonet clashed because she did Playboy and she starred in a sexually explicit movie, which supposedly Cosby was against because it went against her pure, teen image. Oh, the irony.

      • notasugarhere says:

        She also married Lenny Kravitz in Nov 1987, had a baby in Dec 1988. There were rumors that Cosby didn’t like her choice of husband, and that her pregnancy would have to be concealed on camera (even though he happily concealed Rashad’s pregnancy on camera).

    • NewWester says:

      Does make a person wonder if some money has changed hands for their silence. Maybe a bigger portion of the syndication pie? Crew members could have been bought off or silenced with threats of ” you will never work in this industry again” But someone like Phylicia Rashad not coming out with words of support? That is very strange. When someone from the cast speaks up it may be very explosive for Bill

      • jaye says:

        I think it may be a case of them either wanting to stay out of that sh*t storm or their P.R. telling them to dummy up.

      • wolfpup says:

        If everyone were to get on board and become vocal about this, there would be great possibility for change – that is, changing the structure of the power politic, itself. Males cannot rape females! Think about all the fear draining away, and the power of voice that could emerge when any woman can stand next to a man, and feel equal, because he can’t hurt her! Trump pushing around Keisha…feminists unite! Nothing changes until we do, and women have power in today’s world to stop these men from assaulting our little girls (and us!). Starting at the top seems the most efficacious place of all. .

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      Whatever they know or don’t know, they must be aware that if they spoke out, it would be a no-win situation. From their perspective, if – like Keshia – they haven’t spoken to him in years, there’s no reason to stick their necks out. If they support him, they’ll definitely be attacked. If they support the women, people will label them famewh*res because they didn’t speak out sooner. If any of them know anything, they must a) feel awful and b) know they’d be ripped to shreds.

      For them, no good can come of it and I doubt it would help the women either. They’re probably not sure what even happened. The man is a criminal but not entirely stupid.

    • MaiGirl says:

      I should have read further, as I posted something like this above. It’s really amazing that no one has said anything!

    • lucy2 says:

      It is pretty telling that not a single one has said a word. God only knows what they may have witnessed, or how he treated them behind the scenes.
      The only one who has commented was Raven Symone, and that was only to put a stop to the nasty rumor that started circulating about her. And all she did was say that particular rumor was untrue – nothing more.

  5. Angie says:

    Trump – another one that should jump into the loony bin….

  6. Molly says:

    I don’t like Celebrity Apprentice. I like that they raise money for charity but inevitably it becomes a matter of who has more rich friends than the rest.

    • Loopy says:

      I do watch it, its my guilty pleasure, that only applies when they are doing fund raising tasks which only happen once or twice a season.Other tasks are about creativity and business savvy.

      • Lucinda says:

        I haven’t watched it in years but this description of events is pretty typical for the show. I’ve seen him do it before to men as well. If Cosby wasn’t such a scandal, no one would give this a second thought. It is unfortunate that Trump didn’t show more sensitivity, especially in editing, but it isn’t inconsistent with how he has handled this show for years.

    • jaye says:

      I watched it the first few seasons. I had to stop because Trump makes my teeth itch.

  7. Ellie66 says:

    I wonder what the cast of Cosby thinks about all this. Nobody has said anything. Makes u wonder WTF?

  8. Pinky says:

    Keshia knows some stuff. And she knows not to ask for favors from the Cos. But Trump doesn’t understand how women (or people with sense) think. Nor does he respect a woman’s right to choose to whom she has to feel indebted.

    • Shambles says:

      This + 1000. I honestly got a little emotional reading your comment because of nails and heads and hitting and all that stuff. Some people don’t understand that there are women who have been raised with a certain sense of guilt, be it intentional or not. Some have been made to feel that they owe some part of themselves to anyone who does them a favor. It becomes hard to trust that there are some genuine people in the world who do good simply because they are good. But, I digress– you said it much better with the short, sweet and perfect, “she has the right to choose to whom she has to feel indebted.”

  9. Andrea says:

    Just saw her on the Today show. She came off as very polished. She defended Cosby in a articulate thoughtful way.

  10. Yeses says:

    Sometimes silence speaks a hell of a lot more loudly than words….case in point…not one member of the cast defending Bill Cosby or Stephen Collins…sick f**ks!!

  11. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    Well, it’s not exactly news that Donald Trump is a sleazy, tone-deaf, ignoramus, but this seems cruel and sick even for him. I loathe him even more than ever.

    Aside from the sickening rape scandal, I always felt sorry for Keshia. She was the cute little girl on the show, and they just shoved her aside when she got a little older and replaced her with another cute little girl. I always thought that was so insensitive.

  12. Ag says:

    She has grown up to be a lovely woman (and was super adorable as a child).

    Trump is trash, but that’s well-known.

  13. Christin says:

    This is more of a general observation from watching a few past seasons of CA —

    The first task usually involves fund raising as a key component. The project manager assumes more responsibility overall. So, by agreeing to be PM for the fund raising task had added risk for her.

    They have always expected contestants to be aggressive in that regard. What I think hurt her was not even attempting to contact Cosby. Not that I blame her, if he’s been a dirt bag to her in any way.

    • mollie says:

      I think the thing that hurt most was bringing back the two people she did to the board-room, which made it about fundraising and bit her in the end.
      I hope Kate doesn’t wriggle out after the next episode.

      • Christin says:

        I only caught bits of last night’s episode, so I didn’t know the full backstory on who she brought into the board room. Kate won’t make it to the final cut. I will be surprised if she makes it for two more challenges.

        During a past season, a participant said they volunteered as project manager for the first challenge to both impress the judges and get it over. It’s risky to do when you don’t yet know the other team members. She seemed to have a couple who can get cutthroat right off the bat.

  14. scout says:

    She was so cute as a child, still cute and smart woman. Trump’s loss, of course, this guy is so fugly inside and out!

  15. Dawn says:

    I can’t believe this show is still on. I haven’t watched it for years. There are just too many better shows to watch on other channels especially PBS. Of course this is just my little old opinion!

    • lucy2 says:

      I’m amazed it’s still on too. My guess is it must be cheap to produce and they get a lot of promotional tie-ins. I remember watching half an early season ages and ages ago, and being unable to tolerate Trump for any more than that.

  16. Angie says:

    She’s really grown into a beautiful woman. I watched parts of this last night and she came across as very self-possessed and intelligent. In contrast, Shawn Johnson’s up-talking and girlie voice were driving me nuts.

    I understand Trump’s view on this. You have to take risks and be ballsy. Go for the “whale” since there was no way the women could beat the guys based on volume of small donations. But having said that, we all know Cosby is a special situation. Keisha was in a no-win situation.

  17. anne_000 says:

    Previous celebrities on this show have been also called out and/or fired for not calling on their wealthy and influential contacts or using their famous status on a project. Just to name a few: a Playboy model for not calling Hefner for a donation; Mario Andretti for not taking charge of a car-related project and for not using his name to promote the car; Omarosa for not having any wealthy contacts to donate money, etc.

    Many of the projects depend on the amount of donations in order to win. Whichever team gets more donations wins. If you don’t have wealthy donors or don’t call them even though you can then you are considered the weakest link on the team.

    If the celebrities had watched this show in the past, they’d know that you can be fired for not being able to use your star power and contacts. So I don’t see this particular reason for firing Keshia to be out of the ordinary. It’s happened in the past and will continue in the future. Celebrity Apprentice is a charity-based show, so donations are the key part of winning.

    One exception was Joan Rivers, who didn’t have as many wealthy or influential contacts as her opponent Annie the Poker Player did. But she had more star power so she won.

    I just read upthread that Keisha was the project manager. Then yes, that makes her more vulnerable too when your team loses. For her to be the PM and not call Cosby when all she’s famous for is Cosby-related, then these factors made her position even weaker when her team lost.

  18. kibbles says:

    Dignity and self-worth are worth more than any favor or any amount of money, even if it is for charity. In light of all of these rape allegations as well as Cosby’s reputation for being a mean and scary old man, most people would agree that Keshia did the right thing in listening to her intuition. She must have known that any money from Cosby would come with strings attached whether it be a sexual favor or some form of humiliation or emotional abuse. Donald Trump doesn’t care right from wrong, he knew that her firing over not calling Cosby would pose a lot of discussion and bring in more ratings. That is his bottom line. Unless it is his daughter, he would probably encourage any other woman to sell her body and dignity for cash.

  19. Judyk says:

    This is almost laughable. This show was filmed almost one YEAR ago and is just now being aired, so the Cosby comments aren’t really relative.

    Used to love this show, but I have lost so much respect for Donald Trump that I will find it difficult to sit through the remaining episodes.

  20. Jess says:

    I caught the show for the first time in years and I was really impressed with Keshia, she wasn’t perfect as project manager but overall I thought she did great, and she’s freaking gorgeous! Can’t believe Rudy is all grown up. I pray Cosby didn’t do anything inappropriate to her, but at this point nothing would surprise me.

    On another note, Kate is such an annoying as* kisser, she’s so fake and I don’t know if I can handle watching her again, she needs to go.

    • mollie says:

      Kate is awful. She’s just got that unfortunate way about her of being annoying even when she isn’t speaking. I just want Brandi to keep it together and stick around. Also, Geraldo…nice charity, props to him for the $, but could he BE more of an egotistical creep? Ick.
      Keshia took a risk and while the whole Cosby thing was lame, I do think she got fired more for her decision to bring Jamie back into the board room. I mean, the woman was responsible for the only good tasting pie and the 25k bonus.
      Kate made a bad pie AND raised no money….she needs to go next if the women lose.

  21. why? says:

    It was Kenya Moore who egged it on and kept questioning why Keisha didn’t call Bill. She was the one who brought it to Trump’s attention that Keisha hadn’t called Bill. What I kept waiting for was for someone to tell Kenya to mind her own business and ask Kenya why she didn’t call her ex wealthy oil tycoon boyfriend for a huge donation. If the wealthy oil tycoon had donated money to Kenya, the woman would have won.

  22. RobN says:

    She got fired for failing to use her connections. Connections are how business works, it’s how people raise huge amounts of money for charity, it’s how you get projects greenlighted, it’s how you get that next job and that next connection that enables you to advance.

    She’s only got one decent connection and she didn’t use it. He was right to fire her. I wouldn’t have called him, either, but I wouldn’t have been surprised when I got fired for it.

  23. greenmonster says:

    She had her reasons not to call him. Whatever it was – it was her decision and probably the right thing to do. A couple of years ago I saw a Cosby Reunion and I can vaguely remember that Cosby wasn’t very fond of Reality TV. So I’m quite sure he would have had just yelled at Keisha that he won’t give her money (not even for a good cause) on a reality show. And who knows, maybe she called him and he treated her like a little kid for being so “dumb” to call for such a silly reason. And maybe his reaction was so harsh she said she didn’t call him.

  24. why? says:

    Kenya was on WWHL last night and the people who watched it said that she brought in $16,000. Kenya was giving Keisha a hard time about calling contacts, what happened to Kenya’s biggest contact of all? Her wealthy oil tycoon ex boyfriend? Kenya bragged about being in the movie industry(Roger Bobb) and dating a man who is a billionaire, shouldn’t she have brought in more than $16,000?

  25. word says:

    I don’t blame her. She hasn’t spoken to Bill Cosby in 5 years. It would be uncomfortable to just call him and ask for money (even if it was for charity). But then again, this was the reason she was on the show…to raise money for charity. If she has seen previous seasons of the show, she knows you have to use your contacts (all and any). Of course Trump left that scene in, he loves controversy !

  26. Spike says:

    How has a man who has filed for four corporate bankruptcies since 1991 can be considered a credible corporate expert is beyond me. Forbes has a great article about this.

    It’s like asking to be Burnie Maddoff’s apprentice.

  27. Lygeia says:

    Up until now, I was willing to give Donald Trump the benefit of the doubt that maybe he wasn’t such a bad guy. No longer.

  28. Danskins says:

    Trump is trash, Keisha is a treasure!

    I hope she can turn this unfortunate situation around to her advantage and get back on the silver screen where she needs to be, she is gorgeous!