Bill Cosby inadvertently played a big role in the Season 14 premiere Sunday of “Celebrity Apprentice” when former “Cosby Show” star Keshia Knight Pulliam was fired for refusing to call him and ask for a donation for her team. Now, the first eliminated contestant of 2015 is speaking out about the rape allegations surrounding her former TV dad.
Speaking on NBC's “Today” show Monday, Pulliam discussed her time on “Celebrity Apprentice” as well as the recent onslaught of accusations surrounding the 77-year-old comedian.
“What I can say is this: I wasn't there, no one was there, except for the two people to know exactly what happened," she said. "All I can speak to is the man I know and I love. The fact that he has been such an example, and you can't take away from the great that he has done, the millions and millions of dollars that he has given back to colleges and education, and just what he did with 'The Cosby Show' and how groundbreaking that was."
Pulliam played Rudy Huxtable on the massively popular 1980s sitcom. Her decision not to call Cosby for a donation came months before he was slammed with 20 rape allegations from women who claim he drugged and took advantage of them years ago. “Celebrity Apprentice” was taped early in 2014, giving Sunday’s season premiere an uncomfortable and dated tone.
When asked on "Today" about the allegations, Pulliam avoided taking a stance. "Ultimately it's just that: allegations," she said. "And it's been very much played out in the court of public opinion. But we're still in America, where you're innocent until proven guilty, and I wasn't there and that's just not the man I know, so I can't speak to it."
Fifteen cast members remain on “Celebrity Apprentice” after Pulliam failed to beat Geraldo Rivera as her team’s project manager. The groups were tasked with using their star power to raise money for charity through a bake sale.
“Celebrity Apprentice” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. EST on NBC.