Why A Former Apprentice Contestant Is Suing Donald Trump

donald trump the apprentice

Donald Trump won't officially take over as President of the United States until January 20, but he already has a lot on his plate. This week, Trump's transitional team has been dealing with allegations from a former contestant on NBC's The Apprentice. Summer Zervos, who appeared on the NBC reality competition series back during Season 5, is suing Donald Trump for defamation. Here's what happened.

Donald Trump has been hit with allegations over the past several months that he sexually assaulted more than one women. The allegations happened after that behind-the-scenes tape between Donald Trump and then-Access Hollywood employee Billy Bush made some lewd comments about grabbing women "by the pussy." When he was touring around the country and holding rallies, Trump allegedly spoke out about the allegations at a rally in Pennsylvania, noting that the "liars" who made the allegations would eventually be sued. Zervos wants an apology and more for those comments.

According to Summer Zervos and her lawyers, that's defamation. Zervos says that a couple of years after her appearance on The Apprentice, she met with Donald Trump in New York, hoping for a job. Instead, she says he kissed her on the lips. She later stated she went to his hotel room, where he grabbed her, attempting to kiss and touch her. There was a verbal exchange and she rebuffed his advances. She says she met Trump at the hotel as a follow-up to the first business meeting, when he had kissed her. The lawsuit also notes that Summer Zervos subsequently tried to get a job within Trump's business after the hotel exchange and was unhappy when he helped her to get a job at a golf course at a lower salary than anticipated.

The lawsuit states that Summer Zervos is hoping for an apology from Donald Trump, plus compensatory and punitive damages. She also wants Trump to pay for court costs. You can read the lawsuit in full here, which includes each of the exchanges Zervos says she had with Donald Trump.

summer zervos

Per Deadline, Donald Trump's team is fighting back hard against the allegations. The President-Elect has stated he remembers Summer Zervos from Apprentice, but that he did not subsequently meet with her following the show and certainly not in a hotel room. Trump's spokesperson Hope Hicks has said the following about the lawsuit:

There is no truth to this absurd story.

Summer Zervos and Donald Trump did not see a lot of one another during her time on The Apprentice. The Huntington Beach restaurant owner was actually the first person fired from The Apprentice during Season 5. The winner of the 2006 season was Sean Yazbeck. More than a decade later, Donald Trump is no longer the head of the reality series franchise. We'll keep you updated regarding how this lawsuit pans out.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.