Keisha Knight Pulliam Fired From ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ For Not Contacting Bill Cosby For Fundraiser
In the premiere episode of Celebrity Apprentice, Keisha Knight Pulliam was appointed as the female team’s project manager and fired for not calling Bill Cosby to help reach her goal.
Pulliam needed to raise money for her team for the Project Pie Face competition but choose not to reach out to Cosby for a donation. She contacted Russell Simmons, Ludacris and Tyler Perry (to name a few) to donate funds because she felt they could “deliver the quickest.” Unfortunately, her team didn’t make their financial goal and her teammates blamed the actress who once played Cosby’s adorable daughter Rudy on The Cosby Show for not contacting her famed television father. At the end of the competition, the team was evaluated in the boardroom meeting with Donald Trump, his fashion designer/businesswoman daughter Ivanka Trump and Piers Morgan. The spotlight was on Pulliam with the repeated question: “Why didn’t you call Bill?” The Vulture reports:
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.”
Pulliam’s defense did not satisfy Trump, who decided to fire her. He said:
“I really believe, if you’d called that gentleman, he would’ve helped you, even if you hadn’t spoken to him in years 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.”
Interestingly, Pulliam’s team mate Kate Gosselin (Kate Plus 8) who failed to raise any funds, is still on the show.
Despite firing her, Trump donated $25,000 to Pulliam’s nonprofit Kamp Kizzy.
While visiting the TODAY show this Monday morning, Pulliam revealed why she didn’t contact Cosby for Celebrity Apprentice:
“I know The Cosby Show is in reruns, and everyone thinks that we’re this family that has dinner every Friday night. But the reality was I hadn’t spoken to Mr. Cosby. I felt that it would be tactless, very rude to call someone and be like, ‘Hey, so, let me have some money right now.'”
She addressed the ongoing Cosby rape allegation that her TV dad has faced for the past four months as well.
“What I can say is this: I wasn’t there. No one was there except for the two people who know exactly what happened. All I can speak to is the man that I know and I love. The fact that he’s been such an example, you can’t take away from the great that he has done. You know, the amount … the millions and millions of dollars that he has given back to colleges and education, and just what he did with The Cosby Show and how groundbreaking that was. Ultimately, they’re just that, allegations. You know, it’s very much been played out in the court of public opinion. But we’re still in America, where ultimately you’re innocent until proven guilty. I wasn’t there. That’s just not the man I know. So I can’t speak to it.”
This season of Celebrity Apprentice was taped last year, months before Cosby was accused of sexual assault again and surprisingly the producers did not edit the episode to reflect current events.
You can watch the clip of Trump firing Pulliam below. Pulliam will also have a Q&A session on The Apprentice Facebook Page at 2 p.m. EST.