The Daily Beast reported Friday night that Donald Trump had continuously referred to Lil Jon as “Uncle Tom” during the filming of the 13th season of the Apprentice.
Three staffers told the Daily Beast that multiple people on set had tried to tell Trump to stop using the racially-charged term to no avail. According to the Daily Beast, Lil Jon had planned to dress up like Uncle Sam to sell a hair product for the Celebrity Apprentice. When Trump heard, however, he started calling Lil Jon “Uncle Tom” instead of Uncle Sam. And, despite correction, Trump kept using the term.
The individuals who spoke to the Daily Beast spoke on background because of The Apprentice’s strict non disclosure agreements.
“We kept trying to explain to [Trump] that that’s not a word you can use, that it’s offensive,” an Apprentice employee told The Daily Beast. “One of the executive producers had to call him up directly to [plead with] him not to say it, and Trump was like, ‘No, that’s a saying, it’s Uncle Tom.’ There are several takes in the footage of the dailies that has him trying to figure out the difference between ‘Uncle Tom’ and Uncle Sam. “
The Daily Beast reported that Lil Jon’s publicist did not respond to a request for comment Friday, but on Saturday, the Daily Beast reported that Lil Jon did tweet out a comment confirming the incident and saying that Trump stopped once he addressed him.
— LILJON (@LilJon) October 15, 2016
Trump’s campaign strongly denied the claim Friday.
“This is simply untrue,” Trump spokesperson Hope Hicks told the Daily Beast.
Throughout his campaign, Trump has struggled to earn measurable African-American support. In his attempts to reach out to African-American voters Trump has often relied on stereotypes that African Americans live in crime-ridden and impoverished neighborhoods. In an address aimed at African-Americans, Trump once encouraged them to vote for him because “what the hell do you have to lose?”