Keshia Knight Pulliam, the adorable “Rudy Huxtable” on the 1980’s hit television program The Cosby Show, was the first casualty of Celebrity Apprentice Sunday Night as Donald Trump pointed his finger at her inthe board room and intoned, “you’re fired.” The program was first filmed months ago, well before the mounting rape allegations against Cosby became an above-the-fold topic in the news cycle.
The first task for the celebs was a bake sale to raise money for charity. Split into “boys versus girls” teams, Geraldo Rivera led the men to victory leaving Pulliam, project manager for the women, to face the board room.
During the tense dissection of what went wrong on her team, Pulliam was asked why she didn’t reach out to her former TV dad for a donation.
“I did not,” Pulliam said. “I have not talked to Bill Cosby on the phone in I don’t know how long. So 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 was hearing none of it. He used the fact that Pulliam didn’t reach out to Cos as the primary excuse for sacking her. Calling Cosby “a tremendous guy,” he said, “I really believe, if you’d called that gentleman, he would’ve helped you, even if you hadn’t spoken to him in years. Because you were an amazing team with one of the most successful shows ever. So I think it would’ve been a very good call to make for charity. But you have to take responsibility. I think you agree with that.”
Ironically, given the latest news about Cosby and the number of women who have accused him of sexual assault, if Pulliam had called Cosby, it would have made for an awkward episode for NBC. Imagine if Cosby had come to the rescue, written a big check for charity and emerged as a a hero. Given that NBC canceled plans for a new Cosby show because of the latest revelations, it would have put the peacock network in a tough place.