Marlee Matlin responded Friday to reports that Donald Trump allegedly called her “retarded” on the set of NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice.”
The Oscar-winning deaf actress came in second place on Mr. Trump’s reality show in 2011, but three longtime staffers who worked on the show’s eleventh season said the business mogul would regularly disrespect Ms. Matlin and mock her disability, The Daily Beast reported.
Mr. Trump repeatedly referred to Ms. Matlin as “retarded” and acted like she was “special” in front of her and behind her back, sources told The Daily Beast.
Ms. Matlin, a Hillary Clinton supporter, responded to the report Friday afternoon in a statement she posted on Twitter.
“Recent media reports have circulated that Donald Trump allegedly referred to me as ‘retarded.’ The term is abhorrent and should never been used. The fact that we are talking about this during a very important moment in American history has upset me deeply,” she wrote.
“I am Deaf. There are millions of Deaf and hard of hearing people like me, in the United States and around the world who face discrimination and misunderstanding like this on a daily basis. It is unacceptable.
“So, what’s my response? It’s not about insults or taking each other down. As a person who is Deaf, as a woman, as a mom, as a wife, as an actor, I have a voice. And I’m using that voice to make myself heard…and vote.”
Her response comes amid a wave of backlash against Mr. Trump after about a dozen women came forward to accuse him of sexual assault or being sexually inappropriate with them. Mr. Trump has vehemently denied the allegations.
Richard Hatch, a former “Celebrity Apprentice” contestant, claimed Mr. Trump also made lewd remarks toward Ms. Matlin and other women on the set.
Ms. Matlin has previously said Mr. Trump treated her with respect on the show “was always looking after me.”
In January, she came out in support of Mr. Trump’s rival, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
“I’m for my friend @HillaryClinton. If you’re with her, let her know,” the “Switched at Birth” star tweeted.