Not pictured: Burnett reaching for hand sanitizer. (Photo: Jon Kopaloff / Getty Images)

Ever since The Washington Post published the tape of Donald Trump casually bragging about forcibly kissing and groping women on the set of Access Hollywood back in 2005, a question has been hanging ominously in the air: If that’s the kind of stuff he said on a single appearance on someone else’s TV show, what kind of bigoted garbage was he spewing forth on his home turf of The Apprentice? (You know, besides trying to hit on crew members by comparing them to his daughter.)

There’s even a petition, currently at nearly 38,000 signatures at the time of his writing, claiming NBC and MGM have a moral imperative to release whatever racist and/or misogynist recordings Donald Trump left behind on the set of his reality show like so many rabbit droppings. But The Apprentice pooper-scooper-in-chief Mark Burnett has some bad news for those hopeful that NBC had (yet another) October surprise in store: Basically, that Burnett can’t release any unreleased Trump footage from the show.

Here’s what Burnett (and, presumably, his legal team) said in a statement to Variety:

MGM owns Mark Burnett’s production company and The Apprentice is one of its properties. Despite reports to the contrary, Mark Burnett does not have the ability nor the right to release footage or other material from The Apprentice. Various contractual and legal requirements also restrict MGM’s ability to release such material.

Note that Burnett isn’t saying that these recordings, which everyone just assumes are out there somewhere, don’t exist. (They totally do.) All Burnett is saying is that he doesn’t have the legal right to release them, and neither does MGM. The statement also goes on to say that Burnett never threatened to sue anyone who happened to hypothetically leak any of this hypothetical toxic verbal waste, and that Burnett is an active Democrat. How hard Burnett was winking as he delivered the statement is unclear.

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