In 2013, Lil Jon was a cast member on Donald Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice, and was repeatedly referred to by an epithet by the now-presidential candidate during the taping of an episode.
Staffers from the show have come forward to The Daily Beast regarding the incident, and Lil Jon has taken to social media to set the record straight as well.
The Daily Beast reports that Trump, upon seeing Lil Jon dressed up in an Uncle Sam costume for this particular Apprentice challenge, called him “Uncle Tom” and continued to do so on set despite the efforts of the production team. The term is racially motivated and derogatory, and it’s used to insult black people regarded as subservient or appeasing to white people.
“We kept trying to explain to [Trump] that that’s not a word you can use, that it’s offensive,” an anonymous Apprentice employee said. “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. He just couldn’t grasp that it was offensive … When [Trump] decides he wants to do something, that’s his way.”
Shortly after the story was published, Lil Jon released a statement of his own via Twitter, saying that he and his castmates addressed the situation in the board room ASAP:
Even if there’s a question as to whether or not the Apprentice boss knew the true meaning of the term, Lil Jon’s quite sure about where he stands with Trump in 2016: “I also want to be clear that I don't agree with many of the statements Mr. Trump has said during his current run for President.”