A quadriplegic attorney said Wednesday he dropped his lawsuit against producers of NBC’s “The Apprentice” after executives agreed to make clear the program accepts applications from the disabled.
The federal lawuit by James Schottel Jr. claimed the show’s online application discriminatorily required “excellent physical” health of would-be contestants.
Schottel said new language to be added to the rules of the show reads: “All applicants who believe they meet our criteria, including persons with disabilities, are welcome and encouraged to apply to be a participant.”
“I think thats satisfactory,” Schottel said. “Im still a fan of the show, and I was pleased that the online application is going to be modified and that they have shown they have a commitment to consider people with disabilities. That was my goal from the beginning.”
Mark Burnett, who produces the popular reality show along with Donald Trump, said in a statement that “it was never our intent to exclude from consideration persons with disabilities.”
“Even before we learned of this lawsuit, our staff in New York had already interviewed three persons in wheelchairs.” Burnett said. “We continue to urge all potential participants, including those with disabilities, who are interested to apply for the show.”
As part of the deal, neither Los Angeles-based Mark Burnett Productions Inc. nor Trump Productions LLC admitted any wrongdoing.
Schottel never sought monetary damages.
Schottel had applied to try out for the show when auditions were staged last month on the Casino Queen gaming boat across the Mississippi River in East St. Louis, Ill.
Schottel said he had not seen disabled people on “The Apprentice” and that he was concerned that the application process either blocked or discouraged them.
Schottel has said he had no evidence anyone disabled has been rejected or discouraged by the process involving the show, now in its third season.