Donald, Billy, and the Deplorables: Why This Latest Stunt Isn’t Anything New To Women
It seems that everywhere you turn these days, there is a new, and shocking, breaking news story tied to one of the major party candidates in the 2016 presidential election. This is a new, and certainly unwelcome, change from the past few major elections we’ve had in this country. However, there was nothing new about the story that broke on the morning of October 7, 2016, in which audio of Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president, and Billy Bush, a very important television journalist of Access Hollywood fame, revealed that, surprise! Donald Trump is as deplorable as we’ve been saying he is all along.
Here are some choice bits from his 2005 conversation with Billy Bush:
Trump: I moved on her, actually. You know, she was down on Palm Beach. I moved on her, and I failed. I’ll admit it.
Trump: I did try and fuck her. She was married.
Unknown: That’s huge news.
Trump: No, no, Nancy [O’Dell]. No, this was [unintelligible] — and I moved on her very heavily. In fact, I took her out furniture shopping.
She wanted to get some furniture. I said, “I’ll show you where they have some nice furniture.” I took her out furniture —
I moved on her like a bitch. But I couldn’t get there. And she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look.
The Nancy in question here is Nancy O’Dell, the lead reporter on the CBS television show, Entertainment Tonight!
The Donald, and his friend Bushy [I did not make this up, these are names that these grown men actually gave themselves] then have a few more choice words to say, this time about Arianne Zucker, the Days Of Our Lives star that was tasked with meeting Mr. Trump and walking him through the clip they would be filming.
Billy Bush: Sheesh, your girl’s hot as shit. In the purple. (in reference to Arianne Zucker)
Trump: Whoa! Whoa!
Bush: Yes! The Donald has scored. Whoa, my man!
Trump: Yeah, that’s her. With the gold. I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.
Bush: Whatever you want.
Trump: Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.
Bush: Uh, yeah, those legs, all I can see is the legs.
Trump: Oh, it looks good.
In case you missed it, that was the Donald, and the Bushy, describing the age-old practice of sexual assault. First of all, my sincerest apologies go to both Nancy O’Dell, and Arianne Zucker. Both of these women are respected in their field, they have careers, families, and lives to think about, and did not deserve to be dragged into the public eye, to endure hearing, and having their loved ones hear, the vile and degrading comments made about them by a colleague, and the potential leader of the free world.
I apologize, not only to Nancy O’Dell, and Arianne Zucker, but to every woman who has had to suffer from the implicit and explicit manifestations of male privilege, and rape culture, in the workplace. It would seem that by virtue of possessing two X chromosomes, we not only deserve, but have earned, the right to be reduced to the ability to be sexualized and harassed by men, who also make 25% more on average to do so.
But the worst part is that, this is not new. We’ve all met a Donald in the workplace. Mine came into my life in June of 2015, when I accepted an offer to work at a senior counselor at one of the biggest summer camps in Chicago. As someone who wants to work in education, this seemed like a good way to gain relevant experience, so I put aside the fact that I’d be making a cool 5 dollars an hour after taxes, bought some SPF 50 and a pair of walking sandals, and set off to give each of my campers an amazing summer experience.
The eight weeks of camp had various instances of unprofessionalism: the fact that a male swim instructor didn’t understand what I meant when I said I was on my menstrual cycle and unable to swim, forcing me to have a very explicit discussion with my boss, the fact that a male unit leader had two of the underage junior counselors over to drink at his apartment, the fact that my female co-counselor was propositioned for a threesome by one of the male counselors, and even the time a male counselor pushed me into the pool, fully dressed, and later laughed it off as a “surprise wet t-shirt contest.” But all of these things I shrugged off, because I spent most of the summer focused on running games of Red Rover, singing camp songs at the top of my lungs, and hiding under trees in July to avoid the merciless Chicago sun.
However, near the end of the summer, a head counselor from another campsite, who was very close with my camp director, came to work at our campsite. He ran sports, and I was usually in charge of arts/crafts, so we didn’t interact much. The first real exchange I remember us having was when he walked into a room where I was talking to three of my campers, who were asking if I was going “home to my mommy” after camp. “No,” I replied, drawing out my words for shock value, “actually, I live alllllll alone.” Enraptured, one leaned forward. “But don’t you miss your mommy?” she asked. “Don’t you cry?”
“Nope,” I said, tapping her nose and making her laugh, “because I am a groooooown woman, and grown women don’t cry, even when they miss their mommies.”
“You ain’t got no grown woman’s body.” I turned to see my coworker, grinning as he looked me up and down. As a petite person, I had been mistaken for one of my 10 year old campers before, so the comments about my youthful appearance weren’t new, but I’d never heard them in a work setting, or delivered in such a manner.
“What?” he said, looking at my shocked face. “It’s true.”
“What did he mean?” a camper said.
“Nothing,” I replied.
After the summer, I knew I’d only see him once or twice a month, when we worked the occasional after-camp day. I let it go. However, he did not. The texts, the snapchat messages, the 4 am invitations started arriving days after the regular session ended.
The one time I ran into him outside of work, at a social event in downtown Chicago, he grabbed me from behind and fondled me until I broke away. I asked him to stop, I told him that his behavior made me uncomfortable. He smiled, and told me I liked it. It took four friends to rescue me that night. I confided in my co-counselor. “Well, you can’t tell [our supervisor]. They’re happy hour buddies, they golf together. He’ll get away with anything.”
I wasn’t inclined to believe her. I wanted to give me supervisor the benefit of the doubt. This was until I heard from a male co-counselor that our supervisor had told him, and the two other male counselors, that the female counselors were lazy, because we didn’t get in the pool when a last-minute request was made to do so. Most of the women employed at that camp are Afro-American, and the few of us who happened to have a swimsuit with us were otherwise unprepared for the harsh, chlorinated waters. Later, he handed out secret raises to the men on the staff, while I, who had worked in childcare for 9 years, and my co-counselors, veterans of this camp, were left at the base pay.
I parted ways with this camp in December of 2015, and somehow, losing 4.75 an hour and $400 bi-weekly paychecks didn’t hurt as much as you might think it would. I miss my campers dearly, sure, but I knew a change was necessary. However, the messages from my workplace harasser have not stopped. This one came this morning.
And that is just a small sample of the receipts I’ve accumulated.
Women should not be forced to become smaller in any way to get the respect and protection we deserve in the workplace. We should not have to be silently humiliated, we shouldn’t have to beg for scraps from the table, we shouldn’t have to put up with our “deplorable” peers and superiors. We deserve a seat at the table. We have the right to a seat at the table. So for every female in your life, be it your daughter, sister, or even the woman who sat down next to you during your morning commute, I ask that you stand up for that right, and that you not vote a man into the White House who embodies all that is wrong with this country.
If you, or someone you know, has experienced or is experiencing workplace sexual harassment, please visit this site to find out what actions you can take to put an end to it.