A former producer on Donald Trump's reality series The Apprentice has described the show as a "scam" designed to fool viewers into thinking its star was a successful businessman.
Speaking to Vanity Fair, Emmy-winning reality producer Bill Pruitt said that Trump's real estate empire was crumbling when he was cast as the tough-talking boardroom boss on the business-themed reality show.
"The Apprentice was a scam put forth to the public in exchange for ratings. We were 'entertaining', and the story about Donald Trump and his stature fell into some bizarre public record as 'truth'," Pruitt told the mag.
"We are masterful storytellers and we did our job well. What's shocking to me is how quickly and decisively the world bought it. Did we think this clown, this buffoon with the funny hair, would ever become a world leader? Not once. Ever."
Pruitt, who has also worked on The Amazing Race, said that the makers of The Apprentice and other media outlets that propagated the image of Trump as a successful businessman must be held accountable.
"Now that the lines of fiction and reality have blurred to the horrifying extent that they have, those involved in the media must have their day of reckoning. People are buying our crap. Make it entertaining, yes. But make it real. Give them the truth or pay the consequences," he said.
Comedian Tom Arnold made headlines this week when he claimed he has a tape of Trump using racial slurs and offensive language while he was host of The Apprentice.
The comedian made the revelation in an interview with a US radio station.
"I have the outtakes to The Apprentice where he says every bad thing ever, every offensive, racist thing ever," Arnold said.
"It was him sitting in that chair saying the N-word, saying the C-word, calling his son a 'retard'; just being so mean to his own children."