December 20, 2005 12:04 AM by Joe Blackmon
By all rights, Randal Pinkett should now be spending his days basking in the glory of his Apprentice victory and fielding lucrative product endorsement deals. However, due to a controversial decision that he made during the Apprentice 4 finale, the only topic that most want to discuss with him is why he didn’t give the thumbs up for fellow Apprentice candidate Rebecca Jarvis to have a job with Trump.
With one brief answer to a question from Donald Trump, Randal went from one of the most respected and admired reality TV contestants of all time to possibly becoming one of the greatest reality TV villains of all time. Many in the media are not being very complementary to the once popular Apprentice star to say the least. Some Apprentice fans have even started a website called FireRandal.com.
On Friday, Microsoft Corp. sponsored a free Web seminar (webinar) with the winning Apprentice via Microsoft Office Live Meeting. While Microsoft personnel did their best to ask Randal a variety of questions, they couldn’t avoid making reference to the fact that there seemed to one dominant topic of inquiry from most of the participants attending the webinar. Microsoft even flashed the results of a poll they were conducting that showed 68% of respondents disagreed with Randal’s decision. Reality TV Magazine is also conducting a poll, and at the time of this article, 92% of respondents have indicated that they lost respect for Randal because of his actions.
In the Microsoft webinar, Randal clarified that his position was not to “rob Rebecca of a job with the Trump organization.” Randal explained “the premise of the show was and the premise of the evening was one for Trump to choose his Apprentice, not for a double hiring, and in as much as we were all competitors and we all came under the rules as they were stated and as he says at the beginning of every episode I will be hiring one of you to be my next Apprentice.”
During parts of the Microsoft webinar, Randal was both complimentary and critical of Rebecca. Randal often praised Rebecca saying “My hat goes off for Rebecca and I have tremendous respect for her. And I admire her for her courage and her performance in light of her broken ankle.” But when asked about one of the most surprising moments for him on the show, Randal described an event that suggests that he might have a lingering grudge against Rebecca for an earlier incident. After the XM Radio task, Randal suggested Rebecca had given him the indication that they were going into the boardroom believing Clay was the weakest link, but then when “Mr. Trump asked her both who did she think should be fired as well as if you were disappointed and did Randal let you down, she gave a resounding yes, and I think you saw my face, I was like are you kidding me.” Randal also added, “We were hanging out in the suite and we were friends and now she’s coming after me. That moment was definitely an eye opening moment for me.”
Randal’s decision might have been one based on thinking that he should not have to share the spotlight as Apprentice, but it actually resulted in his very decision overshadowing his Apprentice win. It’s a shame that one of the greatest, most successful candidates to ever play the game of Apprentice will probably be remembered more for one single decision not to share than for all the great decisions he made during the course of the game.