"The Apprentice" may be entertainment, but it also amounts to a protracted job interview, says James W. Schottel Jr.
, who filed a federal case in St. Louis claiming that audition rules demanding "excellent physical" health are discriminatory.
Representing himself, Schottel
wants a preliminary injunction to block the show from holding contestant interviews scheduled for Friday in St. Louis until his
case is heard.Beyond that, he
wants an order that he
"and others similarly situated" be considered for the program.
"I'm a fan of the show, and I'm a fan of Mr. Trump, and I don't think he
would support any kind of discrimination," said Schottel
, 32. He
filed suit Friday alleging that Trump Productions LLC
rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Schottel said he is not worried that his case may harm his chances of being selected -- or even hired by Trump.
"I think that if anything, he
would admire me for standing up for what I believe in," he
has not seen disabled people participate in the show, and he
is concerned that the application process is either blocking or discouraging them. He
cites a form that warns applicants, "You must be in excellent physical and mental health," and "meet all physical and psychological requirements."But he
said in an interview Tuesday that he
has no "hard evidence" of anyone being rejected or discouraged. Schottel
insists that he
can perform any role necessary from his
wheelchair."To be a corporate executive, I don't think you need to be able to run 100 yards or run a flight of steps or anything of that nature," he
noted. He grew up in St. Louis and attended Baker University in Kansas, where he kicked a 44-yard field goal in a playoff football game his freshman year.He
suffered a spinal cord injury while participating in a fraternity hazing in 1991 in which he
said no alcohol was involved. After receiving a degree in math education, he graduated from the St. Louis University School of Law in 1999.He
practice includes civil rights and personal injury cases.