October 12, 2016


Four Miss Teen USA Beauty Queens Say Donald Trump Creeped on Them Backstage

Theo Stroomer/Getty Images
Theo Stroomer/Getty Images

Previous reports of Donald Trump's shocking behavior at his world-famous beauty pageants have been bolstered today by an investigative piece from BuzzFeed News. Four women who competed in the Trump-owned Miss Teen USA contest in 1997 have come forward saying the Republican presidential candidate entered their dressing room while they were in various states of undress. Mariah Billado, former Miss Vermont Teen USA, remembers Trump saying something to the effect of, “Don’t worry, ladies, I’ve seen it all before.”

Billado says she told 15-year-old daughter Ivanka Trump, a co-host of the event, about her father, then 51, walking in. She says Ivanka replied, "Yeah, he does that."

In the last few days, archival tapes have emerged featuring Trump speaking in heinous fashion about sexually abusive/invasive behavior toward women. First came 2005 audio of Trump bragging to interviewer Billy Bush that he is "automatically attracted to beautiful [women]—I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.” Trump followed that with, “And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. ... Grab them by the pussy.”

Then tape emerged of him telling Howard Stern:

"Well, I'll tell you the funniest is that before a show, I'll go backstage and everyone's getting dressed, and everything else, and you know, 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. ... You know, they're standing there with no clothes. 'Is everybody okay?' And you see these incredible looking women, and so, I sort of get away with things like that. But no, I've been very good."

In tandem with that story, a onetime Miss New Hampshire said Trump pulled that exact stunt in 2000 at Miss USA. “The time that he walked through the dressing rooms was really shocking. We were all naked,” she said, adding that, like a "creepy uncle," he would "hug you just a little low on your back."

None of the previous accusations involved Trump in a room with teens as young as 14.

BuzzFeed worked to reach 49 of 51 contestants from Miss Teen USA 1997. They ended up speaking with 15 women (34 declined or were unreachable). Four women had stories in line with Trump's own comments to Stern; 11 did not. "Some said it was possible that it happened while they weren’t in the room or that they didn’t notice," reads the piece, co-authored by three journalists. "But most were dubious or dismissed the possibility out of hand." None of the interviewees said Trump made physical contact or said anything overtly sexual. Trump's people have not responded.

An accuser who opted to remain anonymous was 17 when the alleged incident occurred. “At the time, you’re a teenager, you’re intimidated—it’s Donald Trump, he runs the pageant.” Her read at the time was that “it was his given right ... because he owned the pageant.”

“I remember it shocking me,” Billado told BuzzFeed. “I barely let anybody except my sister see me getting dressed.” Another source, also unnamed, said Trump's walk-in “was more of a pompous ‘I own this place’ rather than a perverted thing.” But: “I would never let my daughter run for a pageant that he owns.”

“When he started running for president," one of the sources added, "that is one of the first things I thought about: Oh, gross, this guy walked in on us in the pageant.”

Read BuzzFeed's full piece here, and watch metal singer Otep Shamaya tell Fuse that Trump needs to "go back to the trash pile":