So now we know what she was talking about. Or a part of it. In a new press conference held on Friday at her office in Los Angeles, three days after leaving hints about some women victimized by Donald Trump who had come to her, civil rights lawyer Gloria Allred invited to the stage the former ‘Apprentice’ contestant Summer Zervos. The tearful restaurant owner told the story of a creepy evening in a hotel room with Donald Trump in 2007.
“I had the utmost admiration for Mr. Trump and even after I was “fired” (on the show) by him I continued to see him as a possible mentor and potential employer”, Ms Zervos said first, carefully reading her statement. After being a candidate on season 5 of this NBC reality show, she kept contacting him for a job. She got to meet him in New York, when he first kissed her on the lips unexpectedly, she alleges.
In spite of this, thinking it was maybe “his form of greeting”, she saw him again in Los Angeles, since she lives nearby. Trump at some point called her “my OC (for Orange County) angel”, she recalls hearing. He called her upon arrival and told her to come meet him at the Beverly Hills Hotel, so they could “have dinner”.
Then a very weird evening happened, according to the woman. She was showed the way to a bungalow where M. Trump was waiting for her. “I was standing in the entryway. To my left was a bedroom and I saw Mr. Trump’s clothes on the bed, she said. I did not see him but he greeted me with “helloooo” (in a sing song voice). I thought a mistake had been made and Mr. Trump thought he was speaking to someone he was more familiar with”. She went to sit in the living room, she went on saying, and Trump arrives 15 minutes later, with his suit on. “I stood up and he came to me and started kissing me open mouthed as he was pulling me towards him”, she alleges.
She said she walked away but then went to sit next to him. “He then grabbed my shoulder and began kissing me again very aggressively and placed his hand on my breast”, she continued. She eventually managed to tell him she was not interested, to which he replied: “What do you want? I said I came to have dinner. He said “okay, we will have dinner.” He paced around the room. He acted like he was a bit angry”, she said. After this attempt to get physical, they “shared a club sandwich” while Trump led the conversation from trying to talk about her personal life to suddenly make it like a “job interview”.
A few other things happened, but long story short version: she never got a job with Trump. Or rather, she refused the one offer she received from the manager of a golf course he owns, located near her, because it was “half of what I had told Mr. Trump I was seeking in terms of salary”. “I felt that I was being penalized for not sleeping with him”, she told Donald Trump.
Overcome with emotion, with Gloria Allred comforting her by putting her arm around her, Summer Zervos concluded by addressing her speech directly to Donald Trump: “After hearing the released audio tapes and your denials during the debate I felt that I had to speak out about your behavior. You do not have the right to treat women as sexual objects just because you are a star”.
Trump denied the allegations in a statement: “I vaguely remember Ms. Zervos as one of the many contestants on ‘The Apprentice’ over the years. To be clear, I never met her at a hotel or greeted her inappropriately a decade ago”, Trump said. “That is not who I am as a person, and it is not how I’ve conducted my life.”
Several other women have made accusations against him for engaging in inappropriate sexual conduct: Jessica Leeds, who said he groped her on an airplane in the 1980s, Natasha Stoynoff, a former writer for People magazine who said he has physically accosted her during an interview, and Kristin Anderson, who told The Washington Post of how he slipped his hand beneath her skirt and “touched her vagina through her underwear”.
On a campaign trip in North Carolina on Friday, Donald Trump repeatedly denied the allegations, ridiculed some of his accusers, and suggested these recent episodes are part of a conspiracy against him led by the media and his opponent Hillary Clinton, Gloria Allred being part of it as a Clinton supporter.
As to “why accusers are coming forward now to allege sexual misconduct by Mr. Trump. The answer is simple”, said Gloria Allred. “Some may have held what they allege as a secret within them for many years. Some may have thought they would not be believed against what they thought would most likely be a complete denial by a rich, powerful celebrity. Some may have feared the wrath and retaliation of Mr. Trump and some of his supporters. Some may have thought they were the only ones who were victimized.”
As I reported on Tuesday, Allred and several activists hold a press conference that day in Beverly Hills to ask for the release of footage from ‘The Apprentice’, which according to a former producer of the show contain “far worse” comments from the Republican candidate than what was exposed in a ‘Access Hollywood’ tape leaked last week. That tape from 2005, where Trump says he could do anything to women including grabbing them by the genitals, fueled a storm of reactions from all sides and encouraged women to speak up.