Gary Busey allegedly groped a female staff member while starring as a contestant on season 11 of The Celebrity Apprentice in 2011 — and Donald Trump simply laughed it off, The Daily Beast reported on Monday, October 17.
Five Apprentice employees, including the unidentified alleged victim, told the news outlet that the Academy Award–nominated actor "grabbed" the woman "firmly between [the] legs" while filming at an art gallery in New York City's SoHo neighborhood.
Busey's manager, Ron Sampson, denied the claims (and threatened a lawsuit) in a statement to The Daily Beast, saying, "In response to your ludicrous inquiry, we will not bother and/or disrupt the life of a wonderful 72-year-old man, who has enjoyed a flawless career for over 45 years, to entertain such ridiculous and false accusations. Mr. Busey has better things to do with the rest of his life, like help raise his 6-year-old son, and enjoy his family on his free time."
"It is our belief this is clearly an attempt to gain 5 minutes of fame for some wannabe, or perhaps a political attempt to drag Mr. Busey in the mud because he has been labeled a supporter of Donald Trump, which is false," the statement continued. "Mr. Busey has never officially endorsed Donald Trump, has no interest in politics, and is extremely fed up with being associated as a Donald Trump support when he is not. We are putting you on high alert that if you print ANYTHING of the sort regarding an alleged anything, you are clearly opening yourself for a lawsuit."
According to The Daily Beast, the staffers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to non-disclosure agreements, said Busey, now 72, also allegedly put the female employee's hand on the crotch of his pants.
"They had booze for the [gallery party], I think Lil Jon ordered it," the alleged victim explained to the site. "And so, a few of the celebrities wanted to do a shot together after we finished [setting up] for the show. We all took a shot together, and then went to stand together for B-roll time."
She continued, "We were smoking cigarettes outside, and Busey was standing next to me. And then at one point, he grabbed me firmly between my legs and ran his hand up my stomach and grabbed my breasts. I didn't know what to do. So I made this joke that, 'Oh, I've never been sexually harassed by a celebrity before!' Then he grabbed my hand and put it [over] his penis, and said, like, 'I'm just getting started, baby.' Then my friend jumped in between [me and Busey] and put his hand on Busey's chest."
Multiple employees corroborated the alleged incident, with one telling the news outlet, "There was a moment where [Busey] basically grabbed her tits, and grabbed her hand [and] put it on his package there. And a second friend, who was with her, had to push him away. And they were both like, 'What the heck?'"
According to the report, several Apprentice staffers were "furious" about the incident and asked for Busey to be kicked off the show. The dissent eventually caught Trump's attention, but he merely "gave Busey little more than a chuckle and a soft slap on the wrist," The Daily Beast said. Another staff member recalled Trump calling Busey "a bad boy, a very bad boy."
The Lethal Weapon actor, who was not kicked off the show, eventually finished in sixth place. Country singer John Rich was later named the season 11 winner.
The female staffer said she didn't take further action at the time because she feared for her job, saying, "I didn't think I'd get hired again by the company if I said something like that." She also said the Republican presidential candidate, 70, would say "gross things all the time" and that Trump Tower was "a disgusting place to work" because of the "high frequency" of alleged sexual harassment.
"[Trump] is and always has been a joke — I can't believe anyone now is taking him seriously," she added. "He's a monster."
The shocking allegations come just weeks after the Associated Press spoke to more than 20 former Apprentice crew members, editors and contestants, all of whom said Trump made lewd, sexist comments behind the scenes.
Days later, The Washington Post leaked a 2005 video of Trump and Billy Bush making crass remarks about women while filming a segment for Access Hollywood. In the now-infamous footage — which rocked the presidential campaign and caused numerous more alleged victims to come forward with claims of sexual misconduct — Trump bragged that he can get away with grabbing women "by the p--sy" because of his fame. He has since repeatedly denied the allegations.
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