Marlee Matlin Responds to Rumors That Donald Trump Mocked Her Disability on ‘Celebrity Apprentice’

Marlee Matlin and Donald Trump
Marlee Matlin and Donald Trump David Livingston/Getty Images; ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

Firing back. Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin tweeted her response Friday, October 14, to recent reports that Donald Trump referred to her as "retarded" during her time on Celebrity Apprentice.

"Recent media reports have circulated that Donald Trump allegedly referred to me as 'retarded,'" Matlin, who is deaf, said in a statement. "The term is abhorrent and should never be used. The fact that we are talking about this during a very important moment in American history has upset me deeply."

She wrote that "millions of deaf and hard-of-hearing people like me" continue to "face discrimination and misunderstanding like this on a daily basis. It is unacceptable."

"So, what's the response?" Matlin, 51, continued. "It's not about insults or taking each other down. As a person who is deaf, as a woman, as a mom, as a wife, as an actor, I have a voice. And I'm using that voice to make myself heard … and vote."

Her statement follows the Daily Beast's report of Thursday, October 13, that the GOP presidential nominee referred to the Children of a Lesser God actress as "retarded" and mocked her voice during her stint on Celebrity Apprentice season 11, which aired in 2011. (The piece cites three unnamed sources.)

Matlin, who was the season 11 runner-up behind winner John Rich, has had recurring roles on The West Wing, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, The L Word, My Name Is Earl and Switched at Birth. She tweeted in January that she supports Hillary Clinton's campaign for president.

Trump, 70, has come under fire for numerous controversies in recent weeks. The Associated Press reported in a story published October 3 that the real estate mogul made lewd and sexist comments about female contestants while host of The Apprentice.

A recording of Trump bragging about groping women in 2005 was released by The Washington Post on October 7, and numerous women have come forward since then to allege that he made unwanted sexual advances on them.

The Republican presidential candidate has since apologized for his remarks on the leaked Access Hollywood tape and defended his comments as "locker-room talk." During the second presidential debate on Sunday, October 9, he also denied that he has ever sexually assaulted women.  

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