If loose lips sink ships, then 31-year-old Apprentice also-ran Chris Russo may want to strap on an extra life preserver. During the two months he spent kissing up to Trump, the politically incorrect (yet oddly likable) Long Islander came off a smidge chauvinistic (remember the bridal store "bitch"?), a tad homophobic (b---j-bs = gay support!) and a touch traitorous ("My team sucks, Don!"). Now, let's see if we can add apologetic to the list...TV Guide Online: Was Thursday's bridal task rigged to make you lose?
Chris Russo: I don't think the competition was rigged to make me lose. I do believe there was a slight chance the wedding task was not the next task in line. But this is Mr. Trump's game, and if he wanted to change things up to have me tested after opening my mouth the week before, he makes the rules. TVGO: Do you think your accent was an obstacle when you were making those phone calls? Maybe the women at those bridal stores had trouble taking you seriously.
Chris: Not at all. My accent is from New York and I was calling people from New York. It's the people in Middle America that don't understand. They're the ones with the accents, to be honest with you. (Chuckles) TVGO: You called one of the women on the phone a bitch after she turned you down. Do you think that's professional?
Chris: If I called her a bitch to her face it wouldn't be professional. But if I hang up the phone and call somebody a bitch it's more out of frustration. TVGO: Oh, I see. Even still, as a project manager, is that really the kind of example you want to set?
Chris: Come on, we lived together for nine weeks. That's how people speak in the business world. It might not be politically correct, but use some common sense. That's how people talk. Mr. Trump curses tremendously when he's doing his deals. Does that make him not professional? TVGO: Uh, no comment. Do you regret anything that came out of your mouth on the show?
Chris: Not at all. I don't want to come off like Mr. Macho, but you have to understand something — and I told the producers this when I came onto the show — I'm already married, super happy, I've got a beautiful baby, I've got my own company. I've got nothing to prove to anybody. I don't have to be a phony. I might not be the most politically correct guy out there, but that's who I am. TVGO: You raised some eyebrows during the restaurant task when you suggested that John give the gay customers b---j-bs in an effort to elicit a positive review out of them. Did you get any flak for that?
Chris: I didn't get any flak for that. You know why I didn't get any flak for that? Because it was funny. It wasn't malicious. There's a difference. You got five guys in a room, jokes like that are going to come out. You have to understand something: We were in the middle of a restaurant task. It was high-pressure and intense. As a boss, I know that the easiest way to reset somebody's psyche — especially when they're stressed — is to crack a joke. TVGO: What do you think about all the heat Jen C. took for her "fat Jewish lady" crack?
Chris: I feel bad for Jennifer. She definitely made some mistakes by making those comments, but I don't think she was being malicious. It's unfortunate that in the real world it cost her her job. It was definitely a mistake. She should have known better, but I don't think it should have any effect on her real life. I don't want to sound overly dramatic, but [the whole fracas] literally ruined her life, because now she looks like a complete bum, a complete fool and a racist. TVGO: Not to quibble, but why was her Jewish crack a mistake but not your gay comment?
Chris: (Pause) That's a great question. I'm nervous about answering it... but in society, race and religion is always going to take precedence over homosexuality. Secondly, my comment was more in humor as opposed to a negative comment. TVGO: Um, OK. Switching gears, what's the real reason you didn't bring Jen M. into the boardroom? Was it because you were hot for her?
Chris: Oh, gimme a break. Jennifer and I are like water and oil. TVGO: Opposites do attract...
Chris: (Laughs) That's funny. TVGO: What if I were to run through a list of the women on the show and you were to rank them in terms of hotness. Ten being super-hot and one being Swan material. How about that?
Chris: Um, I wouldn't mind doing that. I think it's a little immature, but I wouldn't mind doing that. TVGO: Excellent. Maria?
Chris: Nine. TVGO: Stacy Rotner...
Chris: (Laughs) I can't do this... TVGO: Come on!
Chris: (Pauses) Six. TVGO: Jen C.?
Chris: Seven. No, give her an eight. TVGO: Was that a mercy eight?
Chris: No, I think she's pretty. She's not my type, but I think she's beautiful. She's probably the prettiest girl on the show, but Maria is a little more striking, so that's why she gets the extra point. TVGO: Pamela?
Chris: Seven. With the new boobs, seven and a half. TVGO: Jen M.?
Chris: I'd give her a seven. TVGO: Sandy?
Chris: I'd give her a seven. TVGO: Ivana?
Chris: Seven. TVGO: Stacie J.?
Chris: I'd give her a seven and a half. TVGO: Elizabeth?
Chris: Seven. TVGO: Thanks for playing. Is your wife giving you the silent treatment after you lost Thursday's task? I mean, the reward was a shopping spree at a diamond store!
Chris: No, by 9:35 my wife was crying, not because she thought I was going to get fired, just because she saw the frustration on my face. She knows I'm a perfectionist. She knows that I strive to be the best and she could tell that I didn't have it in me. And she didn't want America to look and say, "This guy's a quitter." TVGO: That's actually kinda sweet. Anything else you wanna say before we end this?
Chris: I just want people to understand that I am not a ladies' man. I'm a family man. I just had a son nine weeks ago. The producers made a huge mistake this year by not showing us personally. They didn't show me on the phone with my wife two times a day. They didn't show me speaking to the baby through her belly on the telephone. You don't know who's married and not married. You don't know who's crazy or who's cold. You just see people from a business standpoint. It was more like Fear Factor, soulless contestants on the "Corporate Mr. Trump Show."