(Updates with Australian Gold comment in ninth paragraph.)
(Bloomberg) — Groupon Inc. said it won't let ads appear on the website for The Apprentice after customers complained about the political views of Donald Trump, the real estate developer who stars on the NBC television show.
While Groupon isn't a sponsor of the show, its ads occasionally appear on the related site, Julie Mossler, a spokeswoman for Chicago-based Groupon, said in a statement.
"Enough consumers contacted us to warrant ensuring that we don't place ads on 'The Apprentice' home page in the future," the statement said. "This isn't a political statement, it's avoiding intentionally upsetting a segment of our customers."
Trump, who's considering a run for the White House, has called on Barack Obama to present documents proving he was born in the U.S., joining the ranks of the so-called birther movement, which questions the president's citizenship. Obama released a copy of his long-form birth certificate this week, decrying the "silliness" of the debate.
Rebecca Marks, a spokeswoman for NBC Entertainment in Los Angeles, didn't respond to a request for comment. NBC is controlled by Philadelphia-based Comcast Corp. Cathy Hoffman Glosser, a spokeswoman for the Trump Organization in New York, didn't return a message seeking comment.
Political activist website ThinkProgress yesterday had urged Groupon to withdraw its ads appearing in connection with Trump properties.
Australian Gold LLC, a sun-care products maker based in Indianapolis, is among companies that sponsor Celebrity Apprentice, a version of the show that features entertainers vying to remain employed by Trump as they raise money for charity.
The company sponsored a single episode and doesn't plan further advertising for the show right now, Martha Miller, a spokeswoman for Australian Gold, said yesterday. She said the plans are unrelated to Trump's views and that the company hasn't received complaints about him.
In a statement today, Australian Gold said it was "extremely pleased" with the results from its sponsorship of the April 10 episode and would consider more ads.
Australian Gold has "the highest respect for Donald Trump both personally and professionally," the company, owned by New Sunshine LLC, said in a statement.
Groupon's decision to cease running "Apprentice" ads hasn't stopped it from promoting deals for Trump properties. The site is currently offering a 52 percent discount for a stay at the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
With assistance from Adam Satariano in San Francisco.