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Apprentice contract’s nudity clause is identical to Survivor’s

Apprentice contract’s nudity clause is identical to Survivor’s
Donald Trump on The Celebrity Apprentice 6's live finale (Photo by Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

The Daily Beast published a story titled Donald Trump’s ‘Apprentices’ Had to Agree to Go Nude that discusses several clauses in the contract, specifically one about the contestants being possibly filmed naked, without their knowledge.

I’m quoted in the story, talking about how its clauses, while weird, seemed standard for the genre, though the reporter did not share the contract nor the passages with me. My perspective—that this seemed like a standard contract—is amusingly dismissed (“However NBC’s demands of Trump’s potential apprentices stack up by reality TV standards….”).

Now that I’ve seen the actual quotations, I noticed something remarkable about them: they are identical to ones in the Survivor cast contract. This is not a surprise; they are, after all, both produced by Mark Burnett.

This is from the Apprentice contract, according to TDB’s article:

“whether I am clothed, partially clothed or naked, whether I am aware or unaware of such videotaping, filming or recording”

This is from page one of the Survivor contract:

“whether I am clothed, partially clothed or naked, whether I am aware or unaware of such videotaping, filming or recording”

We can discuss the absurdity of reality TV contracts, and their endless clauses about endless possibilities—just read the Survivor contract or the Big Brother contract for examples—but that clause is pretty much non-news.

The problem is that The Daily Beast wants to make this into a Trump scandal: “Trump is not unfamiliar with outlandish demands of this nature,” the story says, and later, “it’s surely the first time a potential president of the United States has ever required such things of his professional underlings.”

But it has nothing to do with Trump at all.

Sure, as an executive producer he could have copy edited the standard contract, but this is the work of television lawyers, not the television star turned presidential hopeful. The parts of the contract that are quoted are interesting, including how “In some circumstances, such food, food money and/or catering must be earned by the players, at the Producer’s discretion” and “that Producer may impose one or more Series Rules regarding the type of sexual activity, if any, that participants will be permitted to engage in.”

I wish TBD had published the full contract, and discussed its legal and ethical implications, rather than trying to insist that Trump personally “required agreeing to a series of odd and invasive demands regarding sex, nudity, and food consumption” to be on his show.

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About the author

  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.


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