Donald Trump’s firing by NBC for making derogatory statements about immigrants (and his subsequent presidential election victory) guaranteed one thing for the Peacock Network — The Celebrity Apprentice would need a new host. Arnold Schwarzenegger stepped into the role as celebrity businessman-in-chief, but according to a new report by Empire, it seems things aren’t going so well for the 69-year-old former governor of California. Why? Because of his predecessor-turned-president, of course.
In an interview promoting his new film Aftermath, Schwarzenegger revealed he would not return to host another season of the show. “I learned a lot, I had a great time, it was a really great opportunity,” he explained, “but under the circumstances I don’t want to do it again.” When pressed about said “circumstances,” he invoked the 45th President of the United States: “It’s not about the show because everyone I ran into came up to me and said ‘I love the show… but I turned it off because as soon as I read Trump’s name I’m outta there!'” (So that’s why the program’s ratings were so low!)
In a followup statement to the New York Times, Schwarzenegger confirmed his departure from the show and his reason for doing so — albeit without mentioning Trump by name. “I loved every second of working with NBC and Mark Burnett,” he said. “I would absolutely work with all of them again on a show that doesn’t have this baggage.”
“Even if asked [to do it again] I would decline,” Schwarzenegger explained further in his interview with Empire. “With Trump being involved in the show people have a bad taste and don’t want to participate as a spectator or as a sponsor or in any other way support the show. It’s a very divisive period now and I think this show got caught up in all that division.”
Considering just how much baggage a controversial figure like Trump currently possesses, it’s not too surprising Schwarzenegger caved in to mounting public pressure.