The Trump Scandal Du Jour: Peeping at Beauty Pageant Contestants

The Trump scandal du jour just broke. Buzzfeed is reporting today that Donald Trump had a habit of walking in on contestants in beauty pageants unannounced when he owned the Miss USA, Miss Universe and Miss Teen USA pageants. Contestants say that Trump startled the girls at several pageants by coming into their dressing rooms as they changed clothes.

Trump is accused of peeping at the young girls in the Miss Teen USA pageant as well as Miss America and Miss Universe. Buzzfeed cites four women who say that Trump walked through the dressing room of the 1997 Miss Teen USA pageant while the girls, some as young as 14, were changing.

Mariah Billado, the former Miss Vermont Teen USA, said, “I remember putting on my dress really quick because I was like, ‘Oh my God, there’s a man in here.’”

She says Trump said, “Don’t worry ladies, I’ve seen it all before.”

The other three women preferred to remain anonymous to protect their privacy, but agreed that Trump entered the dressing room as the girls were changing. Two said that they scrambled to cover themselves while the third said that she was clothed at the time. They called the impromptu visit “shocking” and “creepy.”

Buzzfeed says that they did try to contact the other contestants at the pageant. Of the 15 that they reached, 11 said that they did not see Trump in the dressing room and some say that they do not believe that he was there. None of the women say that Trump made physical contact or sexually explicit comments.

There seems to be no dispute that Trump entered the dressing room at the adult pageants. “The time that he walked through the dressing rooms was really shocking. We were all naked,” Bridget Sullivan, Miss New Hampshire in the 2000 Miss USA pageant, previously told Buzzfeed. “He’d hug you just a little low on your back.” She compared him to a “creepy uncle.”

CNN revealed that Trump bragged about his behavior on The Howard Stern Show in 2005. Trump told Stern, “I’ll tell you the funniest is that I’ll go backstage before a show and everyone’s getting dressed. 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.”

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David Thornton

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