The Truth Behind Tom Arnold And Mark Burnett's Feud

The rumor mill was set ablaze on September 16, 2018, when comedian Tom Arnold revealed on his Twitter account that he had allegedly gotten attacked by Mark Burnett at a pre-Emmy Award fundraiser. Why the heck would Burnett — the man behind top-rated shows like The Voice, Survivor, Shark Tank, and The Apprentice — come to fisticuffs with Arnold of all people? What could these two — umm, seasoned — Hollywood veterans really be arguing about? Well, it all came down to tapes. #TrumpTapes to be exact. But, we'll get into that in a bit.

This feud is equal parts wacky, bizarre, salacious, and absolutely perfect for tabloid fodder. And, guess what? We have all the deets on the real reason they went head-to-head, which resulted in their celebrity friends being forced to take sides in this very public battle. 

If you thought the Nicki Minaj and Cardi B showdown was epic, just wait until you get a load of the truth behind Tom Arnold and Mark Burnett's feud.

It all started with Donald Trump

Tom Arnold has been on a personal crusade to uncover the infamous "Trump Tapes" — recordings and outtakes of President Donald Trump pre-White House, where he allegedly said the "n-word" and made demeaning comments about women during his time as host of NBC's The Apprentice — a show that Burnett produced.

After former The Apprentice contestant and former employee of Trump's White House administration Omarosa Manigault Newman claimed in her book, Unhinged (via NBC News), that the president had indeed said the "n-word" several times on the set of the reality show, it made Arnold even more hungry to uncover the truth. It also prompted Trump to tweet a denial. "@MarkBurnettTV called to say that there are NO TAPES of The Apprentice where I used such a terrible and disgusting word as attributed by Wacky and Deranged Omarosa. I don't have that word in my vocabulary, and never have. She made it up," he wrote, in part.

Burnett's lawyer also went on the record to USA Todaystating the tapes were confidential and now owned by entertainment giant MGM — a company Burnett was named chairman of back in June 2018.

Let's recap: Arnold believes Burnett has access to damaging recordings of Trump that could tarnish his presidency, and Arnold wants those tapes. Bad. 

Choking, a torn shirt, and a missing gold chain...allegedly

All was well in the celebsphere until Arnold posted a shocking tweet in the dead of night on September 16, 2018. "Mark Burnett just went apes**t & choked me at this huge Emmy party then he ran away with his torn Pink shirt & missing  gold chain. I'm waiting for LAPD," he tweeted. Come again?!

The Twitterverse assumed it was all one big joke. But the details about what went down at the Evening Before Emmy party — a fundraiser for the Motion Picture Television Fund —  began to trickle in through a series of haphazardly crafted tweets that painted a vivid picture.

Arnold revealed that even Burnett's wife, actress Roma Downey, was in the midst of the rumble! "Roma knocked [film director] Bryan Fogel's phone out of his hand after Mark Burnett chocked [sic] me. Bryan came with me. He won the Oscar this year for his amazing documentary Icarus. He has tape," Arnold tweeted

Hold up. So, we went from #TrumpTapes to #BryanTapes. Oy vey. Make. It. Stop.

Now, if all of this doesn't sound like the plot line for a made-for-TV movie, just wait, it gets even crazier...

An injury, and now the police are involved

Sadly, Mark Burnett's wife, Roma Downey (above left), allegedly didn't make it out of the scuffle unscathed. "Got this bruise tonight when Tom Arnold tried to ambush my husband Mark and me at a charity event. Is your TV show worth it Tom? Please stop," she tweeted, along with a picture of said bruised hand. And, don't worry, we”ll get into her reference about Arnold's "TV show" in just a few.

Arnold clapped back by tweeting: "Bulls**t. You lie your crazy husband attacked me you psycho. I'm filing police report & suing you for defamation." Oh goodness gracious. Them's fightin' words!

We would like to think that this was just an unfortunate situation that got a little out of hand, but Arnold dropped another bombshell. 

President Donald Trump was tweeting up a storm, per usual, harping about an unrelated, alleged conspiracy theory concerning the FBI, when Arnold replied to him by tweeting, in part: "Sitting in West LAPD filing charges against your best bud Apprentice Outtakes Mark Burnett who lost his mind, attacted [sic] & chocked [sic] me last nite at Katzenberg's Night Before The Emmy's Party."

So, now the law is getting involved in all of this. Geez. This is even messier than we thought.

The party must go on!

While we were left to wonder what really happened at the pre-Emmy fiesta, an eyewitness finally came forward to spill the tea to TMZ, telling the website that when Burnett and his wife arrived at the party, they walked up a staircase to get inside. That was when Arnold reportedly came charging toward them, pushing Burnett.

Burnett allegedly pushed Arnold back, before the comedian and actor ripped Burnett's crucifix from his neck, breaking it. Whoa, the UFC ain't got nothing on these two!

"The altercation lasted no more than 30 seconds and they all stayed at the party," the gossip website reported.

Wait a minute — so, after all of that tousling, chain yanking, and alleged shoving, they all waltzed inside of the party and had a funky good time like nothing ever happened? Wow. The cringe.

Welcome to Hollyweird!

Security to the rescue

Another eyewitness had a somewhat similar recount of the physical clash, except they told Variety that both Arnold and Burnett arrived at the party around the same time, and the two stars immediately got into a shoving match.

The publication was unable to determine who started the ruckus, but they reported, "One attendee who was within earshot of the scuffle said Arnold could be heard challenging Burnett regarding the outtakes of Apprentice." Sounds about Tom.

Things had the potential to get way out of hand. But, thankfully, the event's security guards stepped in and broke up the fight before Arnold could take pointers from Cardi B and throw a shoe at the Hollywood producer.

As we previously mentioned, both Arnold and Burnett were able to enter the party, and once inside, there were no further reports of the two men laying hands on each other. Whew.

Was it premeditated?

Hours before the glam party took place, Arnold conducted a telephone interview with Salon. The purpose of the call was for Arnold to talk about his hosting duties on Viceland's show, The Hunt for the Trump Tapes

He also painted a clearer picture of his dissatisfaction with both Trump and Burnett, with the website stating Arnold had previously spent an ample amount of time with both men and was disgusted by their behavior. 

Arnold then told the interviewer about his goal to confront Burnett at the September 17, 2018, Emmy Awards ceremony. "They're really worried about me being anywhere near [Burnett]," he said, before adding, "I'm definitely going to do something at the Emmys." Oh, snap!

Well, Arnold executed his plan perfectly, albeit he sprung a day early. We can only suspect that he saw an opportunity to confront Burnett at the fundraiser the day before and seized the opportunity without any hesitation. 

Mission accomplished.

Or maybe it was all a publicity stunt?

To some, the timing of this feud is oddly suspicious. Though Arnold has made headlines by continuing to dig deeper into the potentially damaging Trump Tapes, the blow up between him and Burnett just seemed so...outlandish. It was almost as if it was a ploy. Why exactly would Arnold want to draw attention to himself in this manner?

Welp, it didn't take long for the dots to be connected once we realized the alleged brawl took place just two days before Arnold's new Viceland series, The Hunt for the Trump Tapes, was set to premiere. What better way for him to promote his new show then to throw them 'bows at the man who allegedly has the alleged tapes under lock and key, no?

Is it possible the public altercation was nothing more than a publicity stunt to give his series a boost in ratings? Anything's possible. They don't call it the entertainment industry for nothing!