“I loved every second of working with NBC and Mark Burnett. Everyone – from the celebrities to the crew to the marketing department – was a straight 10, and I would absolutely work with all of them again on a show that doesn’t have this baggage,” Schwarzenegger said in a statement following an interview with Empire magazine, in which he said that the show suffered from its association with Trump.
“Even if asked [to do it again] I would decline.” Schwarzenegger said in the interview. “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.”
Schwarzenegger added, “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!'”
As Variety first reported, Trump has an executive producer credit on the show, even though he left his on-screen role when his presidential campaign began.
“NBC did everything they could to promote the show and [producer] Mark Burnett did a fantastic job,” Schwarzenegger told the magazine. “No one really knew that this was going to happen and I think that everyone was caught off guard.”
“When people found out that Trump was still involved as executive producer and was still receiving money from the show, then half the people [started] boycotting it.”
A representative for Schwarzenegger confirmed the details of the interview.
The show has struggled in the ratings this season. Trump and Schwarzenegger have had a back-and-forth on Twitter over the show’s ratings.
Most recently, Trump tweeted on Feb. 3.
Yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger did a really bad job as Governor of California and even worse on the Apprentice…but at least he tried hard!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 3, 2017
Schwarzenegger tweeted back with a link to a story about his release of his tax returns.
— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) February 3, 2017
NBC was not available for comment at Variety‘s request. A source close to the network points to the fact that the show has not yet been picked up for another season, with or without Schwarzenegger.