Trump Pressed by Ex-‘Apprentice’ Contestant to Detail His ‘Illicit’ Past

Like President Bill Clinton before him, Trump could face legal peril if he must testify about his sexual history in the suit filed by Zervos and another by Stephanie Clifford, the adult film actress known as Stormy Daniels, who alleges she had consensual sex with Trump in 2006 and was physically threatened in 2011 to stay silent.

Zervos wants Trump to identify any woman who ever alleged that he subjected them to unwanted sexual touching or other inappropriate behavior — as well as any details on payoffs to those women. Zervos, who met with Trump in hopes of securing a job after her Apprentice appearance in 2005, is one of at least 19 women who have come forward accusing him of sexual misconduct.

.. Zervos said Trump’s lawyers have refused to provide information or documents about other women and asked a state judge in Manhattan in Tuesday’s filing to order the president’s attorneys to cooperate.Most of these women described defendant assaulting them in a virtually identical manner to what Ms. Zervos was forced to endure: without each woman’s consent, defendant would proceed to kiss them on the mouth and grope them, including by grabbing their breasts, buttocks, or vaginas,” according to the filing.

Kick Against the Pricks

It turns out that in the tallest skyscrapers and plushest hotels of the most advanced economies, many high-profile men have been acting the part of feudal lords, demanding droit du seigneur from their vassals, the vassals in this case being their female employees and others wishing entry into their fiefdoms. Evidently there’s been a covert system of taxation on female advancement in the work world, with the unluckier among us obligated to render not just the usual fealty demanded by overweening bosses but varying degrees of sexual homage too, from ego-stroking and fluffing (which is gross enough), to being grabbed and groped, to the expectation of silence about full-on rape.

.. historians have written extensively on the importance of gossip and its venues, such as coffeehouses, in fomenting previous revolutions

.. Every revolution has its weapons of choice—once it was muskets and guillotines, this time around it’s “sharing” and media exposure. It wasn’t heads that were rolling, it was careers: contracts yanked, deals canceled, agents quitting, e-mail accounts shuttered.

.. When the Times recently compiled the names of twenty-four prominent men accused of sexual harassment, it did rather bring to mind the spectacle of heads on a pike in a public square

.. If recent events tell us anything, it’s that power is a social agreement, not a stable entity. The despots had power because they did things that were socially valued and profitable, but the terms of the agreement can shift abruptly.

.. Social upheavals like the current one—chaotic and improvised, yet destined—happen when certain echelons retract their consent to existing conditions and make new demands. Gramsci calls it “war of position.” Toppling power isn’t about storming the Bastille these days, it’s about changing the way people talk and think. If our upheavals come dressed in different garb, creating a crisis of authority for those in power is still how the world changes.

.. But speaking of unlikely agents, that one of the more significant battlefield wins recently was achieved by a former Miss America, Gretchen Carlson, is tough for those who’d prefer their feminist victories to come from women with better feminist credentials.

.. Unfortunately you won’t learn any of this from Be Fierce—you don’t get $20 million without a nondisclosure agreement.

.. It’s from Sherman we learn that Carlson secretly recorded her meetings with Ailes on her phone for a year and a half—including his remark that the two of them should have had sex long ago to resolve their differences, spoken sometime before she was fired (after an eleven-year stint as a newscaster) and sometime after she lodged complaints about the climate of sexism at Fox, for which Ailes labeled her a “man hater” and demoted her.

.. The less job security you have, the worse it is; fast food workers are especially vulnerable.

.. Women who come forward are likely to be passed over for promotions and good assignments, or find their jobs mysteriously eliminated.

.. On rare occasions when a boss-harasser is actually fired, the woman who brought him down often gets treated like a leper by his allies. The majority of those who report harassment end up in different jobs, which makes it understandable that, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 70 percent of women who are harassed don’t report it.

.. Have a plan before you go to HR or you’ll find your options predetermined; you may have a mandatory arbitration clause in your employment contract you don’t know about

.. Trump himself boasts of barging into dressing rooms in the Miss Teen USA contest to gape at unclothed teenage girls. Upon purchasing the Miss USA franchise, he says, he “made the heels higher and the bathing suits smaller.”

.. The “idealized pedestal” Miss America gets put on is itself a form of disempowerment, Carlson eventually came to realize. True, and if you flip to your local Fox affiliate, you’ll see the same compliant femininity distilled to its purest iteration. Like beauty contestants, the women of Fox are hired on the basis of looks, then laminated into near mannequins.

.. The point is that the way Ailes expected “his” women to dress makes clear the role they were expected to play: receptacles

.. If those who signed on had difficulty speaking out about harassment in the workplace because they felt shame regarding the trade-offs they’d made—and many have said that they did—shame is what women are meant to feel in this equation.

.. The convenience of misogyny is that men are spared from hating themselves because they have women to hate instead.

.. You want to know when to tell someone to shut up and when to jump out of a moving car.

This would also involve the ability to distinguish between force and power.

.. Those who didn’t buy into it seem to have fared better. The actress Lupita Nyong’o recalled several encounters with Weinstein in an essay for The New York Times. When he trotted out his familiar moves, she refused to play the expected role: when he asked to give her a massage, she turned the tables and gave him one instead, consciously putting herself in control of the situation. When he tried taking off his pants, she walked to the door, not giving him the satisfaction of seeming intimidated. And he backed down. She seems to have understood that Weinstein may have had power over her career, but he didn’t have power over her, and making that distinction gave her more options for negotiating a bad situation.

.. Anthony Weiner has been the public face of the sexual tic for some years now: a man of demonstrable intelligence under the sway of a compulsion so intellectually disabling that after a string of previous life-wrecking exposures, he still allowed himself to be set up once again, this time by a fifteen-year-old. Anyone could have seen from ten miles away that it was a frame—anyone but Weiner, that is. (The girl later said she was trying to influence the course of the 2016 presidential election, which she probably did—James Comey reopened the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s e-mails after seizing Weiner’s computer once his new friend turned him in.)

.. feminist Dorothy Dinnerstein’s The Mermaid and the Minotaur (1976): the problem for men is that they had mothers.

.. Mother-dominated child-rearing, thought Dinnerstein, is the reason behind men’s loathing of women and everything culturally inscribed as female

.. men can’t give up ruling the world until women cease to have a monopoly on ruling childhood. To push Dinnerstein’s speculations to an even gloomier place: do mothers take out on their sons the abuses they themselves have suffered at the hands of men?

..  Online feminism is itself a playground of bullying and viperishness, most of it under the banner of rectitude.

 

Save the Phony Weinstein Outrage, Republicans

Trump is more consistent. He is a pig in public as well as behind closed doors. In 1992, New York Magazine reported that he said the best way to deal with women is to treat them like excrement, though he used a more vulgar term. He has followed his own advice. His first wife, Ivana Trump, accused him of raping her in a fit of rage. (She later denied that the events she’d recounted were rape “in a literal or criminal sense,” but stuck to the underlying story.)

.. He owned beauty pageants and, by his own admission, would barge into changing rooms to ogle the naked contestants. The makeup artist Jill Harth said that he tried to rape her. Multiple women have accused him of groping and sexual harassment.

.. Somehow, in the wake of the Weinstein revelations, the president’s supporters appear to believe they hold the moral high ground. Donald Trump Jr. — a man who once said that women who can’t handle workplace sexual harassment “should go maybe teach kindergarten” — has been tweeting about Weinstein incessantly.

.. For the past 11 months, many feminists have been reeling from the defeat of the first female major-party presidential candidate by a predatory misogynist. The confirmation that a hugely powerful man who is supposed to be on our side is just as bad as Trump is shattering.

.. Yes, Ailes had to leave Fox News after charges that he’d demanded sexual favors from women in exchange for professional opportunities. But in the aftermath, conservatives did not ostracize him. Instead, Trump defended Ailes and defamed his accusers, then brought him on as an adviser

 

The ’70s and Us

In certain ways sexual predation actually was the culture in the years when Weinstein came of age, in the entertainment industry and the wider society it influenced and mirrored.

.. There is a liberal tendency to regard sexual exploitation as a patriarchal constant that feminism has mitigated, and a conservative tendency to regard it as a problem that’s gotten steadily worse since the sexual revolution.

.. You can remember some of it with ’70s statistics: Never so many divorces, never so many abortions, a much higher rate of rape, an S.T.D. crisis that culminated in the AIDS epidemic.

..  something new happenedin Catholicism between 1960 and 1980: The prevalence of pedophilia stayed about the same, but suddenly the rate of priests groping and seducing and raping teenagers shot way, way up. As went Bowie and Zeppelin, so went the most putatively-conservative institution in the country.

.. The coarse worldview I’ve called “Hefnerism” endured, as the victims of Weinstein and Bill Clinton and Donald Trump can well attest.

.. They featured our civilization’s last great burst of creative energy. Those predatory directors and rape-y rock stars made great movies and memorable music.

.. peace feels like cultural exhaustion.

 

Harvey Weinstein’s Media Enablers

.. we’re hearing a lot about how the story of his misconduct was “the worst-kept secret” in Hollywood and New York.

.. The real story didn’t surface until now because too many people in the intertwined news and entertainment industries had too much to gain from Mr. Weinstein for too long. Across a run of more than 30 years, he had the power to mint stars, to launch careers, to feed the ever-famished content beast. And he did so with quality films that won statuettes and made a whole lot of money for a whole lot of people.

.. “The unfortunate reality of Hollywood is that if someone has money, then they can generally find some kind of audience of people who are interested in working with them,” said Kim Masters, the editor at large at The Hollywood Reporter. This was particularly true of Mr. Weinstein, who, she said, was known for having “the golden touch” that produced “Pulp Fiction” and “Good Will Hunting,” “The King’s Speech” and “Shakespeare in Love.”

.. She said she wanted to believe that times were changing, given the number of women who have put their names to the words that derailed the careers of Bill Cosby, who faced criminal charges that resulted in a mistrial this year, and Bill O’Reilly. But she also wondered aloud whether trouble had finally found Mr. Weinstein because he was no longer the rainmaker and hitmaker he had once been.

..Ms. Bloom has attributed his missteps to his status as a “dinosaur” who is now “learning new ways.”

.. there is a long tradition of disgusting harassment of women who try to make it in the movie business. (Jack L. Warner, a founder of Warner Bros. studios, was no saint.)

.. Mr. Weinstein paid off his latest accuser in a confidential settlement.
.. he was allegedly harassing women in five-star hotel rooms across the globe even as his company was distributing films like “The Hunting Ground,” a 2015 documentary about sexual assault on college campuses. He also helped endow a “Gloria Steinem” faculty chair at Rutgers; joined a national women’s march in Park City, Utah, in January; and was a big fund-raiser for and supporter of Hillary Clinton.
.. State Street, the bank behind the famous “fearless girl” statue staring down the Wall Street bull, paid $5 million to some 300 female executives after a federal audit determined it had paid them less than their white male counterparts
.. Mr. Weinstein had his own enablers. He built his empire on a pile of positive press clippings that, before the internet era, could have reached the moon.
.. Every now and then, glimpses of his nasty side spilled out, like when he placed the reporter Andrew Goldman in a headlock and dragged him out of a party in 2000. Someone who was involved in that altercation, Rebecca Traister, wrote in New York’s The Cut on Thursday that it didn’t get the media attention it deserved because “there were so many journalists on his payroll
.. Let’s hope that those in the know did not include members of the Los Angeles Press Club, which this year gave Mr. Weinstein its “Truthteller Award,” calling him an example of “integrity and social responsibility,”
.. Mr. Weinstein has hired the emerging leader of anti-press jurisprudence, Charles Harder, who brought the case that put Gawker out of business last year.
.. what the cost would be and for the editors and reporters who conveniently didn’t bother to look into the tales making the rounds.
.. “I guarantee there are many more rocks to overturn.”