Gary Susman
May 31, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

You’re fired — again. For the second time in two months, Kwame Jackson has lost a job with Donald Trump’s organization. This time, the ”Apprentice” runner-up was fired from his post as a judge in the Trump-owned Miss Universe pageant, the Associated Press reports. He was disqualified because he waved at some of the contestants when he ran into them in the lobby of their hotel in Quito, Ecuador, where NBC’s live telecast of the pageant will take place on Tuesday. ”Kwame is intelligent, charming and we were really looking forward to him judging on our panel,” pageant president Paula Shugart said in a statement. ”But his interaction with the delegates, albeit unintentional, is strictly prohibited.”

Jackson said in a statement that he was ”disappointed and disheartened” over his disqualification. ”When I arrived [at] the Marriott, I honestly had no idea it was off limits to the judges,” Jackson said. ”I was meeting up with some friends when I was recognized by some [contestants]. As a natural human response, I extended my hand to greet them.” Talking to the New York Post, an NBC spokeswoman said, ”It was an innocent interaction but rather than risk the integrity of the contest, Kwame agreed to step down.”

No replacement for Jackson has been announced for Tuesday’s pageant. But Shugart hopes Jackson has no hard feelings. ”We love working with Kwame and have already extended an offer for him to be a judge in next year’s pageant,” she said.

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