NEW YORK (AP) – Fired “Apprentice” Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth – hated by some of her fellow cast members – got plenty of love Thursday at Ebony magazine’s awards luncheon.

Manigault-Stallworth, a guest, received hugs, kisses and requests for photos at the fifth annual event, which honors outstanding women in marketing and communications.

Among the honorees were CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien, Fox Sports reporter Pam Oliver, BET Nightly News anchor Jacque Reid and television producer Suzanne de Passe.

Manigault-Stallworth, who was “fired” on March 4, was the most polarizing of the 16-member cast, frequently arguing with some of the other women on the NBC reality show, in which contestants vie for real estate mogul Donald Trump’s favor and “the dream job of a lifetime” as his yearlong protege.

After her “firing,” the 30-year-old claimed former contestant Ereka Vetrini had called her the “n-word.” Vetrini has vigorously denied the allegation, as have executive producers Mark Burnett and Trump.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Manigault-Stallworth, a former political consultant, said her experience showed the problems of racism in corporate America.

“Both of those gentlemen weren’t there, so I find it ironic that they would be so emphatic that something did not happen.”

Vetrini has noted that contestants are taped constantly, and had such an incident occurred, it would have been caught on tape.

“Believe me, I know what I experienced,” Manigault-Stallworth said. “Those women called me every name in the book on-camera. Imagine what they did off-camera. Imagine what they would say in the corridors.”

Still, Manigault-Stallworth said she watches the show, which will end with a live two-hour finale on April 15. “I may be the black sheep of that family, but I’m certainly a part of that family.”

Manigault-Stallworth is negotiating a book deal and a talk show, and is interested in doing political commentary for the upcoming presidential election.

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AP-ES-03-18-04 1704EST

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