Stephen Colbert has a fascinating theory about Amazon’s $8.5bn acquisition of MGM Studios, which was announced last night and made official on Wednesday morning.
The struggling studio was bought by the tech giant in a surprise move, but despite the 4,000 films and 17,000 TV shows the price tag comes with, Colbert says the studio was actually estimated to be worth only $5 billion - almost half of what Jeff Bezos agreed to pay.
“So, why would one of the world’s richest men pay almost twice the value for a struggling movie studio that recently went bankrupt?” Colbert asked on his Tuesday night show, before answering directly: “Guess what? All the outtakes from The Apprentice are owned by MGM!”
Colbert believes the “ongoing feud” with Bezos and Trump is the possible reason for the inflated purchase, since those tapes are thought to contain footage of the former president behaving terribly.
“See, for years, there have been allegations about outtakes from The Apprentice where the Slob Father uses racist language, including by (actor) Tom Arnold, who says he saw it personally,” Colbert explains.
The Apprentice tapes have become legendary and were trotted out by Arnold as video that could take down the candidate as early as October 2016, after producer Mark Burnett confirmed that he did not have access to the tapes.
The reality, of course, is that the tapes likely wouldn’t have done much to stop the president at all, who survived the infamous Access Hollywood tapes, and went on to be openly racist as president pretty much constantly, both in policy and in everyday language and behavior.
Still, it’s a big sum of money to pay for the studio. And while it’s hard to imagine that Bezos would nearly double the price he’d pay for a studio just for access to tapes, Colbert does call the entire purchase “such a billionaire move,” which is a move only a handful of people on earth can really understand.
Maybe this is just what people do when they’re worth enough to save the world from all sorts of horrors a few times over but don’t really want to.