December 17, 2005

"Why does the first African-American 'Apprentice' have to come with controversy?"

Asks Les Haughton, the president of a consulting company that specializes in corporate diversity, talking about Randal Pinkett's win on "The Apprentice." Trump asked Randal if he ought to hire the other finalist, and Randal said no.
"None of the other winners were put in that position. So he's selfish; that's OK. Trump is selfish, too. Maybe that's what Donald wanted him to say, because he would have done the same thing."
Well, no, it's not what Donald wanted. But don't worry about Rebecca Jarvis. It can be better to be the runner-up. Ask Clay Aiken. And Aiken had to go into the "American Idol" starmaking machine even though he lost. Rebecca is free to collect job offers and to work on whatever terms and with whatever company she wants. And she's got a lot of leverage right now, more than she would have within the Trump Organization.

Motley Fool analyzes
Trump's decision not to hire Rebecca and makes a general observation about investment:
The audience... hated the decision. Booing was audible as Randal turned to acknowledge them. I agree, and not just because Randal backstabbed a colleague he said he respected. More importantly, I believe, Trump turned away serious talent that wanted badly to work for him. Sadly, though, such decisions are hardly uncommon. Investors do the same thing every single day.

Allow me to explain. When given a choice between several comparable and undervalued stocks, investors will inevitably opt for the one they believe is the best, even if the evidence suggests all of them could be major winners. It's easy to understand why. In our newsletters, our analysts confine themselves to no more than two picks each month.

That is not, however, how the best money managers treat their portfolios. They understand that it's fine to own or buy both Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Dell (Nasdaq: DELL), or any other host of good opportunities at a single point in time -- not just a choice pick or two.

That's where Trump went wrong last night. His either/or choice was arbitrary and unnecessary, and he hurt his organization as a result. Don't let that same mistake plague your portfolio.
But Trump's main concern isn't getting good people into his business through the show. It's doing a great show and using the show to boost his business. Offering the first position to Randal made sense for a number of reasons -- it was time we saw a black contestant win -- and putting the issue of a double hire to him was good TV. Having done that, Trump couldn't reject the advice of the man he'd just chosen. And this show isn't about making us feel warm and fuzzy. It's about brutally cutting people off. Yeah, one person does win (and then slide down a rathole into obscurity... unless his name is Bill). But the tagline of the show is "You're fired."

We love the show even as we see our favorites slammed down week after week, year after year. This weird ending got us all talking about the show again and created momentum for the next season. We're newly inspired with the feeling that wild things happen and beloved favorites can crash and burn at any moment. That's what's so fun, we think, we viewers at home who are vicariously living life in the cutthroat business world.

33 comments:

me said...

I don't think there are any racial overtones to why people are mad at Randal. Rather, Randal who portrayed himself as getting along with everyone, didn't want to share the spoils of victory. Clearly, the tone of the whole show was that there would be two Apprentices, and I'm surprised that Randal didn't pick up on it. However, you are correct, the controversy has probably helped the show, as people would've quit discussing it by now.

jau said...

My problem is that Trump is the boss and shouldn't have let the new guy make the decision. Get input from him, absolutely - good theater, magnanimous gesture, etc. But let him actually make the decision, appallingly bad.

HaloJonesFan said...

also...what was he supposed to say? "Hey, do you think that I should hire you instead of someone else?" "No!" "...er, alright then, you're fired!"

Ann Althouse said...

He could have said it better, like flattering Trump for his excellent judgment: Mr. Trump, I have seen you make decisions throughout this competition, and I have developed so much respect for you. I'm deeply honored that you chose me, because I do respect your judgment so much. So, I've got to think this is the right decision too, and I thank you. And I know the brilliant and beautiful Rebecca will go on to do great things. I hope we get to do business with her some day!

Joe said...

Ann,
If the intrigue, backstabbing and audience-pandering of this show is its best feature, aren't we better off with a standard soap-opera? Oh, ok, a good novel perhaps.
This is just my opinion (and here, it seems, I'm in the miniscule minority), but Trump, his show and his machinations just aren't worth the pixels you spend on him.
Joe

Mark said...

"Offering the first position to Randal made sense for a number of reasons -- it was time we saw a black contestant win..."

This comment of Ann's tends to reinforce the gut feeling I had that Randal was at least partly an affirmative action hire.

I wish we could get to the point where people truly are selected for being the best and not because they have the right skin color. I picture the Apprentice producers looking really, really hard for a black person they could see getting hired at the end just because "it was time we saw a black contestant win." Bleh.

EddieP said...

People seem to be conflating two things, and they are actually separate events. Randal won the Apprentice competition. Rebecca was clearly the runner-up. I think people were basically agreed upon that outcome.

Trump built the entire final episode around hiring the both of them. He pitched a softball to Randal which enabled him to be gracious. Randal evidently doesn't recognize situations like that and that makes him a loser. I think Randal has a bumpy ride ahead.

jan said...

The Apprentice - Rebecca is NOT a star

Mr. Trump is a little too liberal in his use of the word “star.” Unless he wants the word to lose all meaning whenever it flows from his lips, he should stop slapping the word star on every pretty young sassy lady that appears on his show. He’s not doing Rebecca any favors by overstating her abilities and performance, and he’s not doing women any favor with this attitude either. I am a woman and if women want to play on the same turf as men, we should be held to the same standards of success.

Sure, Rebecca displayed some good personal qualities that are beneficial to effective leaders:
1)Toughness – hanging in there with a broken ankle
2)Loyalty – sticking up for Toral
3)Teamwork – when she stepped up to the plate and delivered the Star Wars presentation when her teammate backed out at the last minute

All of these personal attributes are of benefit when you possess the main attribute that was actually being measured and assessed during this 13-week long competition – i.e. LEADERSHIP ABILITY.

Each project manager’s leadership ability was ultimately measured by whether or not his/her team WON the task over the other team. REBECCA LOST EVERY TASK except the one where she worked with Randal in a two-person team to film the Microsoft commercial and, even then, it was clear that Randal was instrumental in helping her to achieve that win. He took the lead in forcing Rebecca to make a decision about the crappy actor she hired and actually took the place of the actor in the commercial (watch the tape of that show). Not to mention the fact that Rebecca did not raise one red cent for her charity in the final task – not a penny! The task was about raising funds for her charity and she didn’t raise any money. Why is everyone ignoring that? Randal’s sponsors also told him not to ask the high profile guests for money, but he did so anyway. She didn’t raise any money! How is she a star?

RANDAL WAS UNDEFEATED AS PROJECT MANAGER. That’s a star.

What is this? Everyone else has to actually prove themselves to achieve victory, but when a woman is involved the standards are lowered to accommodate the Rebecca’s of the world. Is that it? That’s it – lower the standard for the pretty girl.

Rebecca is not Randal’s equal and she is no star. The right person won and Randal should never have been asked to share his victory – yes, asking him to allow Rebecca to be hired as well is the same as asking him to share his well-earned victory – and with an inferior candidate! No other apprentice had to share their victory, so why Randal? It was unfair and an insult. Randal was a stellar candidate – one of the best the show has ever had – and Trump cheapened the victory by doing that to him. He made the victory about Rebecca when it should have been Randal’s moment to enjoy.

Mr. Trump owes Randal an apology.

dklittl said...

To me's point,

There are obviously racial overtones as evidenced a couple posts down by mark's point. Somehow, now that people aren't pleased that Randal wasn't willing to share his prize with another competitor, there is now this monday morning quaterbacking about whether Randal deserves it or not.

Despite the fact that he had a better record as a PM than Rebecca, was more respected by his colleagues than Rebecca for both his character and skills as evidenced by everyone wanting him on their team, and that he has both better education and experience than Rebecca. But now all of sudden he's some Affirmative Action hire. That is condescending and insulting, and despite how you feel about his decision, people seem very willing to demean Randal.

Ann's right he could have said it better even if he believe that he was doing the right thing, but that doesn't make him a loser, or unworthy in a competition based on performance.

Chris O'Brien said...

Stop saying Randall was asked to "share".

Stopitstopitstopit.

He was The Apprentice winner. He had his dream job sewn up. All his. He stopped someone he claims he respected and thought of as a friend from getting her dream job as his first task as an Apprentice. And his sole reasoning was that he thought that there should not be more than one. He didn't question her ability. He will now be notorious.

thefewandtheplenty said...

The decision to share (sorry "Chris"...like that's your real name) wasn't racist at all.

And I should know cause I am a racist.

Chris O'Brien said...

-The decision to share (sorry "Chris"...like that's your real name) wasn't racist at all.

And I should know cause I am a racist. -

I think you're drunk. And I should know. I am Irish.

thefewandtheplenty said...

Chris- You'd have to be Irish with a Mom as ugly as yours.

Chris O'Brien said...

OK..you are a Republican right? I can tell because you are impliedly questioning my patriotism.

thefewandtheplenty said...

Your tactics may work in Scrabble but we all know you're making up words now. Your argument is collapsing like Ashlee Simpson.

dklittl said...

Sorry guys wrong again. Trump has stated since the finals that Randal and Rebecca would have split the 250k. So he would have, lets say it all now...SHARED the award with Rebecca.

Chris O'Brien said...

ok..If Randal had to share the 250K then I am sooo back on his side. I did not hear Trump say that.

Thats a huge thing though. I googled it. I can't find it. Where did he say it?

h6 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
h6 said...

For God’s sake! The people who think that Rebecca is “one of the best candidates that Trump has ever had” really must not have very high standards or didn’t watch all 13 episodes. For the purpose of The Apprentice, she must be judged within the context of her performance on the show.

Rebecca lost every task in which she was the project leader, except the one where she was in a 2-person team with Randal and he was instrumental in helping her to win that task. In that task, he even went so far as forcing Rebecca to make a decision about the crappy actor she hired for the commercial and Randal then took the actor’s place himself. Not to mention the fact that the final task was about raising money for the charities and REBECCA DID NOT RAISE A DIME! Why are people ignoring that? Randal’s sponsors told him not to ask the bigwigs for money too and he ignored them. She didn’t raise a penny! Let’s see, she totally forgot the purpose of the task, yet you still think she did a good job? Give me a break. She didn’t raise a penny!

If you can ignore all of those facts and still look at someone with such a terrible performance record and hold them up as an equal to someone like Randal who was UNDEFEATED as project manager, then it is clear that you are full of crap. Then you say that “Randal would have lost nothing by hiring Rebecca.” Give me a break – he would have lost his self-respect. Since no other apprentice winner was asked that question, it was inappropriate to ask Randal.

Also, why the heck should Randal all of a sudden be Trump’s Personnel Department? Rebecca wasn’t denied anything. She had 4 chances at the PM role and lost every time but one. If Trump still thought she was so amazing after that and wanted to hire her, there was nothing stopping him from extending an offer to her after the show. It was inappropriate for him to raise the matter when he did.

Not to mention the not so small fact that little Becky never should have even made it to the final 2. Randal deserved to be there, but Rebecca only got there because Trump went on a firing rampage this season and got rid of Randal’s real competition. Rebecca got further than she deserved to and she should have been glad to have even sat at the same table.

Ann Althouse said...

Why does everyone keep saying Rebecca didn't make a dime? The approach she used, which the client demanded, was to include envelopes for donations in the bags given to the guests. Did not one guest send in a donation? Randal's event in the locker room was a horror. Did we ever hear from his client how they liked what he did? No, it was all boiled down to the dollar amount, which I think was unfairly calculated to exclude the money that came in later.

And the contestants were NEVER told that the task was to be judged by the dollar amount alone. In the past, some tasks have been judged that way, and where contestants knew that, they often did stupid things just to get to the number that would win. Other tasks have been judged by the quality of the presentation, and where that was the standard, contestants went about it differently.

If the quality standard is applied to the final task, Rebecca is far and away the winner. The show chose after the fact to frame the contest in terms of the bottom line and also excluded any fundraising that came after the event, knowing that only Rebecca had structured her event so that the money came in later.

Thus, it was a total set-up to make Randal the winner. Rebecca was gracious about that. Randal chose to act as if he had simply won and deserved what he got.

h6 said...

For heaven’s sake! By what factual basis is Rebecca equal or nearly equal to Randal in management ability or competence? Those of you who think that Rebecca is on the same level as Randal either have very low standards or didn’t watch all 13 episodes.

Rebecca lost every task in which she was PM, except the one where she was in a 2-person team with Randal and he was instrumental in helping her to win that task. Not to mention that the last task was about raising money for the charity and not only did Rebecca not raise ANY money, but at the event her charity got one measly sign and an envelope in the gift bag! That’s it. Randal’s sponsor told him not to ask the bigwigs for money too but he ignored them. Also, her team once traded her because she was a weak player. ------- If you can ignore all those facts and still look at someone with such a terrible performance record and say they are equal to someone like Randal who was UNDEFEATED as PM, then it’s clear you are full of crap.

Then you say that “Randal would have lost nothing by hiring Rebecca.” Give me a break – he would have lost his self-respect. Since no other apprentice winner was asked that question, it was inappropriate to ask Randal, especially for such an inferior opponent. Also, Randal wasn’t hired as VP of Trump’s Personnel Department. If Trump still thought Rebecca was pretty enough to hire despite her losing record, then he was free to do so after the show. It was inappropriate for him to raise the matter when he did.

The only reason Rebecca was in the finale was because Trump went on a firing rampage this season and fired all of Randal’s real competition. She made it to the final 2 by sheer luck, not ability.

h6 said...

Ann Althouse - Stop making excuses for Rebecca! Randal already runs a successful multi-million dollar business. He’s doing just fine. The only reason for him to be involved with The Apprentice is for the prestige.

Rebecca on the other hand went from working as an investment banking analyst to working as a financial journalist for a few small publications – translate that to mean that she probably failed miserably at investment banking and is now dabbling in journalism while she gets her life together and figures out what she wants to do when she grows up.

This is all about the glitz of TV and the publicity machine. Randal is already doing awesome and I'm sure his life from here on in will be more of the same. I’m sure there will be lots of companies that want to hire Rebecca too and if they are fine with hiring someone with such a bad losing streak and paying her big bucks to also not deliver for them, it’s their cheese.

Whatever.

Chris O'Brien said...

I'm still waiting for dk to show me where Trump said he would have made then share the money. I know he'll get around to it eventually.

Ms. Val said...

Why did Mr. Trump wait until this year to decide to ask the winner if the other finalist should be hired? I thought the point of the show was to select an "apprentice" one person not two. I thought Randal answer Mr. Trump truthfully and he deserved to be the only one selected. If Rebecca was selected I doubt she would have wanted Randal hired also. My opinion.

Harkonnendog said...

Randal saved Trump from Trump. What an anti-climactic piece of crap that finale would have been had Rebecca been hired.

And it makes no sense to hire Rebecca because "she is a star too" when Alla was a much bigger "star" than her.

I watched Survivor, and I know Rupert, and Rebecca is no Rupert.

thePHANTOM said...

I have to say, after reading the comments here, then skimming through them...then finally just laughing all the way to the bottom, that indeed, most of you truly are idiots. Lets start at the beginning: This is "The Apprentice", not "help the loser, who everyone thinks is cute". She lost, get over it. People make deals out of a broken foot and call her tough, puleeease, who do you know is tough because they have a broken foot and still WENT TO WORK?!?! That is ridiculous, and a foolhardy argument. Why wasn't any of the previous winners asked to "split" the prize? Why wasn't Bill asked to split with Kwame? So, give it a rest, the Black man won, and white america can't stand it. Now because he didn't want to share 1st place after 13 hard weeks of proving who's the best, the backlash begins. Trump was a coward for asking such a goofy and cowardly request of him on national television. I wonder if he would have asked the same of her had she won. People, get over it, as a white girl, white corporate america will circle the wagons around her and she will get more money, more fame and more success than Randal, who still will have to work for everything he gets. Keep in mind, she showed nothing for 13 weeks. She's not cute either, which is why Trump wants to hire her in the first place. Nice ass though (final episode).

Sean E said...

"[Trump] made the victory about Rebecca when it should have been Randal’s moment to enjoy"

Actually, Randal made it about Rebecca. If he had said yes, no one would be talking about her today except perhaps to say how lucky she was that he was gracious enough to give her this gift.

"Why did Mr. Trump wait until this year to decide to ask the winner if the other finalist should be hired?"

Why did he wait until this year to fire four contestants at the same Boardroom? It's television and he wants to keep things interesting. Why does everything have to be a big conspiracy?

Sean E said...

"My problem is that Trump is the boss and shouldn't have let the new guy make the decision."

My guess is that Trump didn't realize he was letting Randal make the decision. Trump thought the decision was made and he was giving Randal a chance to look magnanimous and agree. Randal managed to blindside the boss in his first two minutes on the job.

thePHANTOM said...

sean? hush boy.

Harkonnendog said...

"People, get over it, as a white girl, white corporate america will circle the wagons around her and she will get more money, more fame and more success than Randal, who still will have to work for everything he gets."

Lol! I always think people are doing parody when they write stuff like that- it is so much funnier when I realize they aren't!!!

h6 said...

I just watched Larry King Live where Donald Trump said all his killer business buddies said that Randal made the 100% RIGHT decision. So obviously, the real successful people in business - and DT would certainly know all of them - feel that Randal's first step was dead on. If that's not a vote of confidence, I don't know what is.

It was also clear that, despite all the niceties DT extended to Rebecca on Larry King, DT did NOT come prepared to offer Rebecca a position.

And, DT said that he hopes Randal is with him for many years!!!!! .....Yahoo!

So there! - to all of you people who have made such derogatory and borderline racist comments about Randal and his potential for future success.

DT also said that apprentice finalists from all seasons have received lots of job offers and Rebecca will be no different. Let's just hope Rebecca finally learns to move from bragging about what she could do to actually achieving the intended goal of her tasks.

Ann Althouse said...

h6: "I just watched Larry King Live where Donald Trump said all his killer business buddies said that Randal made the 100% RIGHT decision. So obviously, the real successful people in business - and DT would certainly know all of them - feel that Randal's first step was dead on. If that's not a vote of confidence, I don't know what is."

Because Trump would never lie or fluff to protect his business interests.

Harkonnendog said...

I'm pretty sure Trump wouldn't feel it was necessary to lie about Randal's choice. It isn't like he's hustling for quarters. And if you re-Tivo that scene you'll see Trump was not upset by Randal's decision, but bemused and respectful of it.

I imagine Trump's business partners are a lot like Alla, personality wise.