Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Donald Trump accused of sexually harassing Apprentice contestant

Donald Trump, the Flying Dutchman of a candidate powered by hot wind and fried chicken, already has enough loathsome behavior toward women on record to fill several dozen court dockets and/or hours of Howard Stern. In the past week alone, numerous women have have come forward in the wake of leaked audio from the locker room that is Trump’s world, offering specific—and in the case of People’s Natasha Stoynoff, vividly described—allegations of Trump groping, kissing, or otherwise forcing himself on them. And just this morning, Gloria Allred held a press conference with a new accuser who says he assaulted her: former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos.

In Zervos’ recounting, she approached Trump in 2007, a year after appearing on the show, to see if he could help her with job opportunities. She says Trump, as is his self-described wont, kissed her on the lips without invitation, then later grabbed her breast and “thrust his genitals” against her. Zervos adds that after repeatedly refusing his advances, she was offered a low-salary position in Trump’s organization and told never to phone him on his private number again. She says she felt as though she were being “penalized” for not sleeping with him.

Zervos joins the list of accusers that Trump has dismissed as lying fame-seekers, “horrible,” and not attractive enough for him to bother with. Trump hasn’t yet issued a similar, specific denial of Zervos’ claims, but one assumes it’s forthcoming. Perhaps while he’s at it, he’ll also issue some blanket preemptive denials for the “many more women” Allred says have contacted her.

Not that it would make a difference, really. Reporting on these things at this point is a lot like Trump’s own campaign: No matter what new repugnance is uncovered, somehow it just never ends. And throughout, Trump’s supporters—seduced by tales of a globalist elite with deep corporate interests, orchestrating a shameful, hate-filled campaign built on lies and smears of sexual assault—will still line up behind the multimillionaire, international hotel magnate who regularly spews racist, logic-defying falsehoods, and whose latest platform is built on his own rape allegations, convinced that he alone is the moral choice. And clearly, they won’t be rattled by these new charges any more than they will cognitive dissonance.

Anyway, here’s some more ugly accusations to add to the shitpile for them to shrug at: Apparently, Donald Trump also used to refer to Marlee Matlin as “retarded” while she was a contestant on The Apprentice—that is, when he wasn’t hitting on her. Fellow contestant and former Survivor winner Richard Hatch told People that Trump made “blatant” and “frequent” overtures toward both Matlin and actress Lisa Rinna, often making the other contestants uncomfortable with “comments about her looks, and how she was making him feel, and about what he thought of her, and how happy he would be to do something with her.”


And when that strategy didn’t work, Trump took to mocking the way she spoke. Three separate production staffers told The Daily Beast that Trump had “a habit of insulting, mimicking, and demeaning as mentally handicapped” the deaf actress, including imitating her way of speaking (“It actually sounded a lot like what he did [to] the New York Times guy,” one source said) and often talking to her “like she was ‘special.’” One crew member says Trump, who used to scribble notes to himself during tapings, once even wrote, “Marlee, is she retarded??” on a piece of paper, presumably as a reminder to himself that he is a graffitied bathroom wall stuffed in a suit.

Today, Matlin issued a lengthy response via Twitter, reminding Trump along with all of us—in what has become a sadly necessary daily affirmation—that this is both unacceptable behavior and an appalling moment that we can’t believe we’re living through right now:


Trump’s alleged statements about Matlin and the new accusations by Summer Zervos join that recently published Associated Press report from eight Apprentice crew members who say Trump regularly harassed women on set. Oh yeah, and there’s also the two Apprentice staffers who today told The Huffington Post that Trump fired Khloe Kardashian from the 2009 season because he didn’t find her attractive, calling her a “fat piglet” and asking aloud, “Why did we get the ugly Kardashian?” Again, these are all accusations of gross, demeaning, sexually aggressive behavior toward women that occurred solely on the set of Donald Trump’s reality show. The fact that there is even a “pop culture angle” to any of this shit that could place it under The A.V. Club’s purview, for us to report on just a small subset of his vile behavior, is, frankly, fucking flabbergasting. The sadder fact is, there is every chance this article will require an update the moment it is posted.

There are 24 goddamn days left until the election.


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