Trump campaign hits back at 'outlandish and unsubstantiated' claims of Apprentice sexism

Former contestants and members of the crew spoke to the Associated Press about alleged incidents

Trump campaign hits back at 'outlandish and unsubstantiated' claims of Apprentice sexism

Image: Dan Hallman / AP/Press Association Images

Donald Trump's campaign team has hit back at "outlandish and unsubstantiated" claims of sexism against the Apprentice TV star by the show's insiders.

A spokeswoman for the Republican presidential candidate said the allegations were "totally false" and were "fabricated by publicity hungry, opportunistic, disgruntled former employees".

Mr Trump allegedly rated female contestants by the size of their breasts and spoke about who he would like to sleep with, according to an Associated Press investigation.

More than 20 former crew members, editors and contestants have been interviewed separately and gave similar accounts of what they called the presidential nominee's crass and inappropriate behaviour on set.

Former Apprentice producer Katherine Walker said he often talked about women's bodies during the five seasons she worked on the programme.

And she claimed he speculated about which female candidates would be "a tiger in bed".

Apprentice 2005 winner Randal Pinkett said he remembered the property tycoon talked about which female contestants he wanted to sleep with, even though Mr Trump got married to Melania Knauss earlier that year.

Another contestant Gene Folkes claimed Mr Trump called for female contestants to wear shorter dresses that also showed more cleavage during one season.

And several cast members said the US businessman got one female candidate to twirl in front of him so he could ogle her figure.

Twelve former contestants or members of the crew spoke on the record to the Associated Press about what they described as Mr Trump's inappropriate behaviour.

Another nine spoke about their concerns regarding Mr Trump's treatment of female colleagues.

But they said they did not want to be identified because they signed non-disclosure agreements, or were concerned about wrecking their careers or retaliation from Mr Trump.

They agreed to recall their experiences as Mr Trump's behaviour towards women has become a big issue in the presidential campaign.

He allegedly called former Miss Universe Alicia Machado "Miss Piggy" when she put on weight after winning the beauty title in 1996 and in recent days claimed she featured in a sex tape.

Meanwhile, other Apprentice cast and crew who were also interviewed said they had positive, professional experiences with Mr Trump, and claimed they had never heard comments that made them uncomfortable.

One contestant, US softball star Jennie Finch, said: "He was extremely supportive. You could tell there was so much respect there on all sides, especially with the female athletes.

"Obviously, he was complimentary, but never in an inappropriate way."

Hope Hicks, Mr Trump's campaign spokeswoman, dismissed the sexism allegations.

She said: "These outlandish, unsubstantiated, and totally false claims fabricated by publicity hungry, opportunistic, disgruntled former employees, have no merit whatsoever.

"The Apprentice was one of the most successful prime-time television shows of all time and employed hundreds of people over many years, many of whom support Mr Trump's candidacy."