Awkward! Keshia Knight Pulliam, aka Rudy Huxtable from The Cosby Show, has become the first contestant to be fired from The Celebrity Apprentice — because she refused to ask alleged abuser Bill Cosby for help.
On the Sunday, Jan. 5 episode (recorded prior to Cosby's recent sex abuse allegations) Donald Trump told a disappointed Pulliam she was to blame for her team's lack of success during a charity task, because she refused to pull personal strings and contact the comedian to ask for a donation.
Pulliam, who was project manager for the task, was trying to raise money for her own charity, Kamp Kizzy, by selling pies with her all-female team that included fellow contestants Kate Gosselin, Vivica A. Fox, Shawn Johnson, Bradi Glanville, Kenya Moore and Leeza Gibbons.
But despite insisting her time on the Cosby Show with the now-controversial comedian taught her "the importance of philanthropy and giving back to others," she refused to get in touch with her former TV dad to help raise funds for charity.
“I have not talked to Bill Cosby on the phone in I don’t know how long," she explained in the boardroom, when criticized for not reaching out to the star. "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.”
Trump decided Pulliam's refusal was her team's fatal error. "You are an amazing person, but you were the project manager. You didn’t make one call that I really believe that if you’d called that gentleman he would have helped you, even if you hadn’t spoken to him in years," he said. Find out more details behind Trump's decision to fire Knight.
"You were an amazing team with one of the most successful shows ever, so I think it would have been a good call to make for charity,” he added. “You have to take responsibility."
Since the show was recorded, more than 15 women have come forward, alleging they were drugged or sexually abused by the 77-year-old comedian, allegations Cosby denies.
Trump was quick to point out that he was not aware of the subsequent allegations at the time of his decision.
"This show was taped just before the terrible Bill Cosby revelations came to light," he tweeted after the show. "She still should have asked him for money — goes to charity," he added.