Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Is this the fabled Trump pee tape? One intrepid reporter investigates

Illustration for article titled Is this the fabled Trump pee tape? One intrepid reporter investigates
Photo: Mark Wilson (Getty Images)

It’s a long-established fact that, despite his open history as a known germophobe, Donald Trump still manages to taint everything he touches. Steaks, children’s films, the bedrock of our republic—these are the objects and ideals of our affection that perhaps will never recover from his spray-tanned caress. It’s especially sad when one realizes our president has somehow even managed to sully the once-respectable realm of conspiracy hoax videos. Footage of alien autopsies, bigfoots, and UFOs—all so far easily debunked “evidence” of the oddities lurking at our cultural fringes. Well, actually, the UFO thing might have some legs to it, but we digress.


However, as reporter Ashley Feinberg recently researched in impressively extensive (and NSFW) detail for Slate, we can’t even know what to believe anymore when it comes to Donald Trump ordering Russian models to piss on a bed because Obama once slept on it (a real thing, apparently, that you can read more about here). Feinberg’s fascinating piece recounts the story of how an alleged copy of the pee tape has been streaming (screw you, let us have this) around the internet for some time now, but curiously has never gained the viral traction one might imagine it would. As Feinberg explores, perhaps it’s because we assume this example has to be a forgery, even if many of us believe an actual tape does exist somewhere. Or, perhaps, it’s because the more interesting story is trying to figure out who would go so far and spend so much time, money, and effort to stage a fake video. Or maybe it’s because, given Trump’s list of actual measurable damage to life, liberty, and the pursuit of falling asleep at a reasonable hour without picturing his wrinkly dumb face, we as a society just don’t care about literal dirty laundry right now.

Regardless of reason, Feinberg really did the damn work here, reaching out to special-effects technicians and lip-reading experts, as well as digging through troves on archived internet ephemera to piece together whether or not the shaky-cam recording does, in fact, show Donald Trump loving the pee-pee.

Her conclusion? The pee tape in question is definitely fake. Maybe. Kinda. Unless it isn’t, in which case… sigh, who the fuck even knows anymore? We’re essentially on day three of this Ukraine thing, so we’re just trying to strap in and hold on for dear life, because this makes Trump-ordered piss look like rainwater.

Andrew Paul is a contributing writer with work recently featured by NBC Think, GQ, Slate, Rolling Stone, and McSweeney's Internet Tendency. He writes the newsletter, (((Echo Chamber))).