Update: 7:43 p.m. ET: In a statement to Us Weekly, Trump campaign Deputy Communications Director, Jessica Ditto, denies the allegations.
“These accusations have no merit and have already been disproven by many other individuals who were present,” a statement to Us read on Wednesday. “When you see questionable attacks like this magically put out there in the final month of a presidential campaign, you have to ask yourself what the political motivations really are and why the media is pushing it. Here’s the reality – Mr. Trump has a fantastic record of empowering women throughout his career, and a more accurate story would be to show how he’s been a positive influence in the lives of so many.”
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Several former Miss Teen USA contestants alleged to BuzzFeed News that Donald Trump walked in on them while they were changing.
Four women who competed in the annual event in 1997 claimed that the real estate tycoon — who had partial ownership of the Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants from 1996 until 2015 — barged in uninvited while the contestants (some as young as 15) were not fully dressed.
“I remember putting on my dress really quick because I was like, Oh, my god, there’s a man in here,” former Miss Teen USA Vermont Mariah Billado recounted.
According to Billado, the Republican presidential nominee, now 70, said something along the lines of “Don’t worry ladies, I’ve seen it all before.”
Three other women who competed alongside Billado — but asked to remain anonymous — also recalled Trump entering the room while girls were changing. Two of them told BuzzFeed that they remember young women rushing to find garments to cover their bodies.
BuzzFeed reached out to 49 of the 51 contestants who vied for the Miss Teen USA crown, but only 15 agreed to talk. The 11 others who participated in the story do not remember Trump entering their dressing area. Of the 15 women who were interviewed, none accused the ex–Celebrity Apprentice host of saying anything sexually inappropriate or of attempting to make physical contact when he was backstage with them.
BuzzFeed’s report comes days after a 2005 Access Hollywood video — in which Trump says vulgar things about women — was leaked to The Washington Post on Friday, October 7. In the controversial clip, he brags that his star power allows him to make advances on women such as grabbing them “by the p–sy.”
The Oval Office hopeful later apologized via Twitter and in a video statement, and dismissed his comments as “locker room talk.”
As BuzzFeed pointed out, Trump once boasted to Howard Stern in 2004 that having ownership of the Miss USA organization allowed him to get away with walking into contestants’ dressing rooms unannounced.
“I’ll tell you the funniest is that I’ll go backstage before a show and everyone’s getting dressed,” he told the shock jock in recordings released by CNN on October 9. “No men are anywhere, and I’m allowed to go in, because I’m the owner of the pageant and therefore I’m inspecting it. … ‘Is everyone OK?’ You know, they’re standing there with no clothes. ‘Is everybody OK?’ And you see these incredible-looking women, and so I sort of get away with things like that.”
The Trump campaign and the Trump Organization did not respond to BuzzFeed’s requests for comment. The Miss Universe Organization, which runs Miss Teen USA, declined to comment as well.
Crystal Hughes, former Miss Maine Teen USA, doesn’t believe that Trump ever walked in on the contestants. “There was way too much security,” she told BuzzFeed. “If that was something he did, then everybody would have noticed.”
Asked why her fellow pageant queens stated otherwise, Hughes replied, “They’re probably lying because they are voting for [Democratic presidential candidate] Hillary Clinton.”
However, Billado — the only former contestant to outwardly call out Trump — told BuzzFeed that she doesn’t “support either” candidate. Of the three other unidentified women who remember Trump intruding on their personal space, one said she was undecided but would not vote for him, and one labeled herself as a Democrat. The third said she was definitely not voting for Trump, but clarified that “this is not about politics.”
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