Donald Trump once sexually assaulted columnist E. Jean Carroll in a dressing room in Bergdorf Goodman's midtown Manhattan location, Carroll alleged in a Friday New York magazine cover story.
Carroll said she met Trump in 1995 or 1996, when the two ran into one another near the department store’s front doors. Recognizing Carroll as “that advice lady,” Trump asked Carroll for help choosing a present for a female friend. The two went to the lingerie department together, Carroll said, where they joked about who would try on a lace bodysuit.
As they headed to the dressing rooms, Carroll thought that she would cajole Trump into trying on the bodysuit over his pants. Instead, once the dressing room door closed, Trump pushed Carroll into a wall and forcibly kissed her. She tried to push him off her, laughing, but then Trump pulled down her tights.
“I am astonished by what I’m about to write: I keep laughing,” wrote Carroll, a longtime columnist for Elle magazine.
Trump then thrust his penis inside her, even as Carroll tried to shove him off and stomp on his foot, according to her story. After a three-minute struggle, Carroll said she was finally able to use her knee to push him off of her. She then ran out of the dressing room.
Bergdorf Goodman has not kept security camera footage from that time, and Carroll said she did not see any attendants during the incident. Carroll also did not report the alleged assault to the police, though she did tell two friends, who confirmed her account to New York Magazine.
Carroll wrote that she didn’t come forward before now because “I am a coward.”
“Receiving death threats, being driven from my home, being dismissed, being dragged through the mud, and joining the 15 women who’ve come forward with credible stories about how the man grabbed, badgered, belittled, mauled, molested, and assaulted them, only to see the man turn it around, deny, threaten, and attack them, never sounded like much fun,” she added.
A senior White House official denied Carroll’s account to New York magazine. Trump has denied previous allegations of sexual misconduct.
At least 22 women have now said that Trump has made some kind of unwanted sexual overture toward them, according to a Vox accounting, including 16 accounts of unwanted kissing or groping. (Though Ivana Trump said her then-husband assaulted her in a 1992 divorce deposition, she has since recanted.) In a 2005 tape obtained by the Washington Post, Trump once bragged, “When you’re a star, they let you do it.”
“Grab them by the pussy,” Trump added. “You can do anything.” He has since dismissed the comments as “locker room banter.”
Carroll’s cover story details several attacks that Carroll said she suffered at the hands of men throughout her life. And Trump isn’t the only famous man she accuses of sexual assault.
After she interviewed Les Moonves, the former chairman of CBS, Carroll said that Moonves went “at me like an octopus.” A representative for Moonves, who has since been ousted from CBS over allegations of sexual misconduct, also denied Carroll’s story to New York magazine.
In the final line of her story, Carroll said that after the incident with Trump, she never had sex again.
Cover image: Journalist E. Jean Carroll attends The ELLE Agenda In Conversation Panel And Cocktail Party hosted by Robbie Myers At NeueHouse on November 17, 2015 in New York City (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for ELLE)