'Celebrity Apprentice' Fires Keshia Knight Pulliam for Not Calling Bill Cosby

by Jackie Willis 7:41 AM PST, January 05, 2015
Photo: Getty Images

Keshia Knight Pulliam was the first contestant fired from The Celebrity Apprentice this season after she refused to reach out to her former co-star Bill Cosby for financial support in a charity challenge.

Donald Trump said he was disappointed with the actress -- who played the Cosby's daughter, Rudy Huxtable, on The Cosby Show -- after she declined to ask the 77-year-old comedian for a donation while acting as a project manager in a task to raise funds for her charity, Kamp Kizzy. Keshia led an all-girl group that included Vivica A. Fox, Kate Gosselin, Kenya Moore, Brandi Glanville, Shawn Johnson and Leeza Gibbons.

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The episode was filmed prior to the numerous sexual abuse allegations that were lodged against Cosby late last year. "I have not talked to Bill Cosby on the phone in I don't know how long," Keshia explained her reasons for not contacting him. "For me to pick up the phone having not talked to you for five years, except for when we run into each other for a Cosby event, I feel that’s not my place to do."

Trump disagreed and said it was this error in judgment that caused her team to lose the challenge. "You didn't make one call that I really believe that if you'd called that gentleman he would have helped you, even if you hadn't spoken to him in years," he told Keshia in the board room. "You were an amazing team with one of the most successful shows ever, so I think it would have been a good call to make for charity. You have to take responsibility."

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On Sunday, Trump stood by his decision to let The Cosby Show star go, tweeting: "This show was taped just before the terrible Bill Cosby revelations came to light. She still should have asked him for money -- goes to charity."

Keshia spoke with the Today show on Monday about being cut from the NBC reality competition series, and the scandal surrounding her former co-star. "The fact that he's been such an example, you can't take away from the great that he has done," Pulliam said. "You know, the amount …the millions and millions of dollars that he has given back to colleges and education, and just what he did with The Cosby Show and how groundbreaking that was."

She added, "Ultimately, they're just that, allegations. You know, it's very much been played out in the court of public opinion. But we're still in America, where ultimately you're innocent until proven guilty. I wasn't there. That's just not the man I know. So I can't speak to it."

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