Arnold Schwarzenegger has resigned from The Celebrity Apprentice, blaming U.S. President Donald Trump for his decision to leave the TV business competition.
The Terminator actor signed on to anchor the American program’s 15th season in 2015 after Trump stepped down from the job to pursue a career in politics.
With Arnold as the face of the series, ratings dropped significantly when episodes aired in 2016 and 2017, and several sponsors terminated their support for the show thanks to the controversial 45th U.S. President’s behind-the-scenes involvement.
Schwarzenegger and Trump also engaged in public feuds throughout, with the billionaire frequently taunting the Total Recall star for drawing in poorer ratings than he did as the host of Celebrity Apprentice for over a decade.
And in a new interview with Empire, Arnold explains he will not be returning to host the reality series for a second season thanks to Trump’s meddling.
“It’s not about the show,” Schwarzenegger notes of his resignation, “because everyone I ran into came up to me and said, ‘I love the show… but I turned it off because as soon as I read Trump’s name I’m outta there!’
“When people found out that Trump was still involved as executive producer and was still receiving money from the show, then half the people (started) boycotting it.”
Former California Governor Arnold, 69, has nothing but praise and respect for his The Celebrity Apprentice colleagues, adding, “I learned a lot, I had a great time, it was a really great opportunity, but under the circumstances, I don’t want to do it again.
“Even if asked (to do it again) I would decline. With Trump being involved in the show, people have a bad taste and don’t want to participate as a spectator or as a sponsor or in any other way support the show. It’s a very divisive period now and I think this show got caught up in all that division.”