The Apprentice: Trump campaign threatens legal action over biopic that depicts him as a rapist | Film

The Trump campaign has come out swinging against The Apprentice after the film, which depicts the former president raping his first wife, shocked audiences at Cannes, with a spokesperson saying that they will be “filing a lawsuit to address the blatantly false assertions from these pretend filmmakers”.

Speaking to Variety on Monday after the world premiere of Ali Abbasi’s film, the Trump campaign’s chief spokesperson Steven Cheung confirmed they would take legal action.

“This garbage is pure fiction which sensationalises lies that have been long debunked,” he said. “As with the illegal Biden Trials, this is election interference by Hollywood elites, who know that President Trump will retake the White House and beat their candidate of choice because nothing they have done has worked.”

“This ‘film’ is pure malicious defamation, should not see the light of day, and doesn’t even deserve a place in the straight-to-DVD section of a bargain bin at a soon-to-be-closed discount movie store, it belongs in a dumpster fire.”

Abbasi’s film, which stars Sebastian Stan as Trump and opens with a disclaimer that the events depicted are fictionalised, earned an eight-minute standing ovation at the Cannes film festival on Monday.

Audience members reportedly gasped over scenes including Trump getting liposuction, having scalp-reduction surgery and, most controversially, a scene in which he pushes his first wife, Ivana, to the ground and rapes her.

The scene is a fictionalised account of a 1989 incident that was previously detailed in the couple’s divorce proceedings in 1990.

In the film, Trump reacts with fury after Ivana disparages his physical appearance. “You have a face like a fucking orange,” she tells him. “You’re getting fat, you’re getting ugly and you’re getting bald.” The future president is then shown forcing his wife to the floor and raping her. “Did I find your G-spot?” he asks in the film.

In her 1990 deposition, Ivana Trump described a similar assault that she said occurred shortly after her husband’s scalp-reduction surgery. She claimed that Trump pushed her to the floor and pulled out handfuls of her hair. Ivana initially described what followed as a rape, but later walked back on the claim.

In a 1993 statement, she said: “On one occasion during 1989, Mr Trump and I had marital relations in which he behaved very differently towards me than he had during our marriage. As a woman I felt violated … I referred to this as a rape, but I do not want my words to be interpreted in a literal or criminal sense.”

During the couple’s divorce proceedings, Trump dismissed his wife’s version of the incident as “obviously false”.

The Apprentice also stars Jeremy Strong as Trump’s lawyer and fixer Roy Cohn and Maria Bakalova as Ivana Trump.

In his two-star review for the Guardian, Peter Bradshaw wrote: “In sketching out his pre-White-House career, The Apprentice worryingly moves us back to the old Donald, the joke Donald who had a cameo in Home Alone 2 and of course his own hit TV show, the joke that is now beyond unfunny. It feels obtuse and irrelevant.”

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