Trump Demands to Block ‘The Apprentice’ Release

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Lawyers representing former President Donald Trump have reportedly issued a cease and desist letter to the filmmakers of The Apprentice, aiming to halt the movie’s release and cautioning the producers against securing a domestic distribution deal.

“The Movie presents itself as a factual biography of Mr. Trump, yet nothing could be further from the truth,” the May 22 letter to director Ali Abbasi and screenwriter Gabriel Sherman reportedly states.

The letter continues:

“It is a concoction of lies that repeatedly defames President Trump and constitutes direct foreign interference in America’s elections. If you do not immediately cease and desist all distribution and marketing of this libelous farce, we will be forced to pursue all appropriate legal remedies.” … “You have until May 27, 2024, to respond with your agreement to immediately comply with this demand. President Trump reserves all rights.”

The Apprentice, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival this week, was independently financed and produced outside the Hollywood studio system—largely through overseas companies as well as some domestic investors.

Since its debut at Cannes, the film has sparked intense debate over its portrayal of a young Trump (played by actor Sebastian Stan) and his rise to power starting in the 70s.

One controversial scene depicts Trump raping his first wife, Ivana—a claim Ivana Trump has denied. Other scenes show Trump undergoing plastic surgery and liposuction.

The Apprentice has not yet secured a domestic distribution deal. Any potential distributor—whether a major streaming service or a specialty theatrical label—would need to consider the potential costs of a lengthy legal battle with Trump.

Director Ali Abbasi, originally from Iran, has expressed hope that the movie will be released in the U.S. before the November presidential election, particularly during the upcoming presidential debates.

The Trump campaign threatened to sue the makers of The Apprentice following its Cannes premiere.

“We will be filing a lawsuit to address the blatantly false assertions from these pretend filmmakers,” said the Trump campaign’s chief spokesperson Steven Cheung, “This garbage is pure fiction which sensationalizes lies that have been long debunked.”

Cheung also referred to the movie as “malicious defamation.”

The Apprentice co-stars Succession actor Jeremy Strong as Roy Cohn, Borat 2 actress Maria Bakalova as Ivana Trump, and Martin Donovan as Fred Trump.

David Ng
David Ng
Senior reporter covering media, entertainment, and corporate America. Previously, David was with the Los Angeles Times for 12 years, providing comprehensive coverage of the entertainment industry, including investigative pieces on some of LA’s landmark cultural institutions.

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