As owner of the Miss Teen USA pageant franchise, Donald Trump felt entitled to walk into the dressing rooms of aspiring young beauty queens.
Four women who competed in the 1997 Miss Teen USA pageant told BuzzFeed that Trump would often show up in their dressing room unannounced while the contestants, some as young as 15, were changing.
“I remember putting on my dress really quick because I was like, ‘Oh my god, there’s a man in here’,” Mariah Billado, former Miss Vermont Teen USA, told BuzzFeed reporters. She remembers Trump’s response — that he said something along the lines of “Don’t worry, ladies, I’ve seen it all before.”
Tasha Dixon, the former Miss Teen Arizona, competed in the 2001 Teen USA pageant. She was 18 at the time and remembers how Trump would “come strolling right in” when girls were “half-naked, changing into [their] bikinis….some girls were topless. Other girls were naked,” according to an interview with the CBS station in Los Angeles.
“There was no second to put a robe on or any sort of clothing,” Dixon said. She said that was most of the girls’ first introduction to Trump. She said that Trump’s behavior put her and the other pageant contestants in a “very physically vulnerable position,” and that his entrance was usually accompanied by “the pressure of the people that worked for him telling us to go fawn all over him, go walk up to him, talk to him, get his attention.”
Trump apparently considered access to the women’s changing rooms one of the perks of owning the beauty pageant franchises MissUniverse and Miss Teen USA, which he bought in 1996.
In a 2005 interview, Trump told radio shock jock Howard Stern, “I’m allowed to go in because I’m the owner of the pageant. And therefore I’m inspecting it.”
“I’ll go backstage before a show, and everyone’s getting dressed and ready and everything else,” Trump said. “And you know, no men are anywhere,” he said, according to CNN’s K-File team, which reviewed 17 years of audio of the radio show.
“You’re like a doctor,” Stern replied.
“‘Is everyone OK?’ [I’d ask]. You know, they’re standing there with no clothes [on],” Trump said. “‘Is everybody OK?’ And you see these incredible-looking women. And so I sort of get away with things like that.”
In September 2015, NBC and Univision dropped the broadcast after Trump’s disparaging remarks about Mexican immigrants, and Trump sold the franchise to talent agency WME/IMG.
The latest allegations against Trump come as the self-described billionaire Republican nominee’s campaign is still suffering the fallout from the release of tapes last week, where he was heard boasting about sexually assaulting women in a hot mic conversation with Billy Bush in 2005.