Anti-Donald Trump activists have reportedly waged what they call a successful boycott campaign against NBC’s The Celebrity Apprentice, with a significant number of advertisers backing off of the show — even though Trump no longer hosts it.
According to the Wrap, at least five of the show’s twelve corporate sponsors have indicated they will not appear on the show if or when it returns next season.
The brands are reported to include the Los Angeles Clippers, Carnival Corporation, Tyra Beauty, QVC and Lorissa’s Kitchen, though none of the brands confirmed outright that the decisions to withdraw participation were made due to Trump.
Another brand, the Jessica Alba-owned Honest Company, was reported to have said it would not return for next season, while a representative for Kawasaki USA previously said it would withdraw its involvement in the show.
The boycott is the work of the #GrabYourWallet campaign, which called on anti-Trump activists to boycott the companies who refused to pull their participation in the show. The #GrabYourWallet campaign is the same campaign used by anti-Trump activists against companies like Ivanka Trump’s fashion brand and outfitter L.L. Bean.
“I think it’s pretty clear at this point that the Trump brand name is toxic,” #GrabYourWallet organizer Shannon Coulter, a 45-year-old digital marketing specialist from San Francisco, told the Wrap.
NBC rebooted the Apprentice franchise earlier this year with new host Arnold Schwarzenegger after severing business ties with Trump in 2015 due to his presidential campaign.
Though Trump left the show, he still retains an executive producer credit and his name appears in the titles. In December, Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks said that the then-president-elect had a “stake” in the show because he co-created it with reality TV producer Mark Burnett.
A source close to the show told TMZ in December that Trump has no creative involvement in the reboot, and that the executive producer credit was purely a title. Schwarzenegger defended Trump’s credit in an interview the same month, explaining that he still received royalties from his Terminator films after becoming governor of California.
Even without the political controversy surrounding its previous host, the Schwarzenegger-led Apprentice faced an uphill battle in its first season. It debuted to 4.95 million viewers in January and struggled in the ratings through the entirety of its eight-episode run.
Trump joked about the show’s falling ratings during the National Prayer Breakfast in February, urging attendees to “pray for Arnold.” Schwarzenegger later fired back with a video he posted on social media.
According to the Wrap, five companies have not yet withdrawn their participation from the show: King’s Hawaiian, Trident, Welch’s, See’s Candies and Universal Studios Hollywood.
NBC has not yet announced a return date for Celebrity Apprentice.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum