Writer E. Jean Carroll accused President Donald Trump of sexual assault in a department store dressing room and former CBS chief Les Moonves of aggressive groping in an elevator in a book excerpt published Friday in New York Magazine.
Both men denied the attacks, which Carroll said took place in the mid-1990s.
Carroll, a features writer who has written for publications including Playboy and Esquire, said Trump attacked her in late 1995 or early 1996 in a Bergdorf Goodman department store in Manhattan.
Carroll wrote that after she ran into Trump in a department store, he asked her to help him pick out lingerie for someone, which Carroll agreed to do. She said Trump encouraged Carroll to try on a lace bodysuit, and that she joked that he should try it on instead, quipping, “it goes with your eyes.” She said Trump took her by the arm and said “come on,” adding, “let’s put this on.”
Carroll said that as she looks back at the situation, she is “staggered by my stupidity,” but that in the moment she found it hilarious. “I’m laughing aloud and saying in my mind: I’m gonna make him put this thing on over his pants!”
Inside the dressing room, things immediately turned from playful to violent, Carroll said. She describes what she says happened next in the present tense.
“The moment the dressing-room door is closed, he lunges at me, pushes me against the wall, hitting my head quite badly, and puts his mouth against my lips,” Carroll said.
“I am so shocked I shove him back and start laughing again. He seizes both my arms and pushes me up against the wall a second time, and, as I become aware of how large he is, he holds me against the wall with his shoulder and jams his hand under my coat dress and pulls down my tights.”
Carroll said that while still wearing a business suit, Trump opened his overcoat, unzipped his pants and forced “his fingers around my private area.” Trump then “thrusts his penis halfway — or completely, I’m not certain — inside me. It turns into a colossal struggle.”
She said it lasted “no more than three minutes,” and that she doesn’t believe Trump ejaculated. She said she tried to push him away, and that she kneed him and ran out of the room.
A representative for President Trump did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment. But a White House spokesperson told New York Magazine: “This is a completely false and unrealistic story surfacing 25 years after allegedly taking place and was created simply to make the President look bad.”
Carroll said she disclosed the attack to two friends at the time, and that one of them, a journalist, advised her to “tell no one. Forget it! He has 200 lawyers. He’ll bury you.” The other friend told her it was rape, and to go to the police. New York Magazine confirmed with the two friends, neither of whom were identified, that Carroll told them Trump attacked her.
At least 15 other women have previously accused Trump of sexual misconduct. He has denied the accusations.
Shuanna Thomas, co-founder of the women’s group UltraViolet, said the new accusation is yet another reason that sexual assault accusations against Trump should be investigated.
“The American people have known that Donald Trump is a dangerous, predatory misogynist since they saw him bragging about sexually assaulting women in 2016,” she said, referring to the “Access Hollywood” tape in which Trump bragged about kissing and grabbing women without consent. “Carroll’s experiences are incredibly disturbing, though hardly surprising given the more than twenty allegations of sexual abuse that already exist against President Trump.”
Carroll’s comments were part of a lengthy piece in which she described interactions with “hideous men.” The magazine’s Intelligencer blog said the Trump attack was “one of six incidents Carroll details in the article of attacks on her by men over the course of her life.” The Moonves account is one of the six.
The writer, now 75, also said she was groped by Moonves in an elevator while she was interviewing him for a 1997 Esquire profile. She said it happened at the Hotel Nikko in Beverly Hills. At the end of the interview, she said, Moonves followed her to the elevator and said “you’re smart.” Carroll said she responded with a swift “thank you!”
Moonves, according to Carroll, then said, “smart enough to choose an out-of-the-way hotel,” and entered the elevator with her. She said that Moonves, his “pants bursting with demands,” groped her “like an octopus.”
“I don’t know how many apertures and openings you possess, Reader, but Moonves, with his arms squirming and poking and goosing and scooping and pricking and prodding and jabbing, is looking for fissures I don’t even know I own, and — by God! — I am not certain that even if I pull off one of his arms it won’t crawl after me and attack me in my hotel bed,” Carroll wrote. “Hell, I am thrilled I escape before he expels his ink.”
Carroll said that as a member of the “Silent Generation,” she “naturally” did not mention the attack in her profile.
A rep for Moonves did not respond to TheWrap’s request for comment. Moonves told New York Magazine he “emphatically denies” the incident happened.
Moonves stepped down as CEO of CBS last year, months after a report by Ronan Farrow in the New Yorker in which six women accused the longtime media mogul of sexual harassment. A followup report from Farrow in The New Yorker outlined more accusations of sexual assault and harassment from six additional women. Moonves, in a statement included in Farrow’s initial report, denied any sexual assault or misconduct.
“I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances. Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely,” Moonves said. “But I always understood and respected — and abided by the principle — that ‘no’ means ‘no,’ and I have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone’s career. This is a time when we all are appropriately focused on how we help improve our society, and we at CBS are committed to being part of the solution.”
Carroll’s full piece can be found here.