Natasha Stoynoff

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  • Natasha Stoynoff, a former reporter for People Magazine, revealed that she had been sexually assaulted by Donald Trump while writing a profile about his first anniversary married to Melania in 2006. “In early 2006, Natasha Stoynoff, a writer for People magazine, co-wrote a flowery account of Donald Trump's marriage to his third wife, Melania. ‘[…] The story doesn't mention what Stoynoff alleged Wednesday night in a first-person account posted by the magazine: That in the course of interviewing Trump for the story at his Florida estate, he pinned her up against a wall and forced himself on her. ‘We walked into [one] room alone, and Trump shut the door behind us,’ she wrote. ‘I turned around, and within seconds he was pushing me against the wall and forcing his tongue down my throat.’” (Washington Post, October 14, 2016)
  • Stoynoff was known to Trump and had covered Trump for several years before he sexually assaulted her. “Ms. Stoynoff said she knew Mr. Trump for several years before the interview during which she claimed he attacked her. She covered his NBC reality show, ‘The Apprentice,’ for People, had previously met him at his home in Trump Tower, and attended his wedding to Ms. Trump. […] Ms. Stoynoff said Mr. Trump leaned forward while they waited for his wife and informed her they would soon begin a sexual relationship. ‘You know we're going to have an affair, don't you?’ he said, according to Ms. Stoynoff's account. ‘Have you ever been to Peter Luger's for steaks? I'll take you. We're going to have an affair, I'm telling you.’” (New York Times, October 19, 2016)
  • Stoynoff claimed that Trump had lured her into a room he claimed he needed to show her, then pinned her and thrust his tongue in her mouth, leading Stoynoff to feel “utterly violated.” “Ms. Stoynoff said she knew the Trumps before the meeting -- she had attended their wedding, reported on Mr. Trump at Trump Tower in New York City and covered his NBC reality series, ‘The Apprentice.’ But during the 2005 assignment for People, she said, Mr. Trump told her that he wanted to show her around his Mar-a-Lago mansion, particularly one ‘tremendous’ room she needed to see. His wife had gone off to another part of the residence to change into a new outfit, she wrote. ‘We walked into that room alone, and Trump shut the door behind us,’ Ms. Stoynoff wrote. ‘I turned around, and within seconds he was pushing me against the wall and forcing his tongue down my throat. I was stunned. And I was grateful when Trump's longtime butler burst into the room a minute later, as I tried to unpin myself,’ Ms. Stoynoff wrote. She said the butler ‘informed us that Melania would be down momentarily.’ She said that she had felt ‘utterly violated’ by Mr. Trump's actions that day in the room.” (New York Times, October 14, 2016)
  • Stoynoff came forward with her story after the second Presidential debate in 2016, in which Trump denied that he had ever groped or assaulted women without their consent. “The decade-long lag in reporting the alleged incident gave Trump an opening on Thursday to impeach Stoynoff's story. ‘Why didn't the writer of the twelve year old [sic] article in People Magazine mention the 'incident' in her story,’ he tweeted. ‘Because it did not happen!’ Stoynoff and People say that it did, and that the long delay in reporting it reflected the confusion, embarrassment and conflicting emotions that assault victims often experience. ‘It was disorienting for her,’ said J.D. Heyman, People's deputy editor, in an interview Thursday. ‘She felt a great deal of worry and distress about it. Then she felt angry.’ The anger, he said, was triggered by Trump's denial during the presidential debate Sunday that he had ever assaulted a woman. At least four women, including Stoynoff, have come forward since then with stories about Trump groping or kissing them against their will. […] Heyman said Stoynoff told editors about her experience with Trump only after the ‘Access Hollywood’ recording of Trump emerged last week. They encouraged her to write about what happened, he said, but left the decision up to her.” (Washington Post, October 14, 2016)
  • Stoynoff claimed that she did not come forward with her allegations against Trump in 2006 because she felt ashamed and feared that she would be retaliated against if she reported the incident. “In her account, Ms. Stoynoff described how she tried to act normally and continue with her interviews. ‘I had a job to do, and I was determined to do it,’ she wrote. ‘I sat in a chair that faced Trump, who waited for his wife on a love seat. The butler left us, and I fumbled with my tape recorder. Trump smiled and leaned forward: ‘You know we're going to have an affair, don't you?’ He became an attentive husband when Melania arrived, she wrote. Ms. Stoynoff eventually returned to New York and said she discussed what happened with a colleague. They talked about whether to have the feature canceled, but she said she was ashamed, and blamed herself. ‘I minimized it ('It's not like he raped me ...'); I doubted my recollection and my reaction. I was afraid that a famous, powerful, wealthy man could and would discredit and destroy me,’ she wrote.” (New York Times, October 14, 2016)
  • Stoynoff recounted that Trump called after her piece published and left a voicemail message that she took as an expression of his pleasure that she had not reported his assault against her. “The attack that Stoynoff alleges is sickening. So, too, was the aftermath -- instead of facing consequences for his alleged actions, Trump scored a positive splash in People magazine. After the story hit newsstands, Trump left a voice mail for Stoynoff, ‘I think you're terrific. The article was great and you're great.’ Stoynoff interpreted the message to mean that Trump was pleased she'd kept her mouth shut.” (Washington Post, October 18, 2016) (Washington Post, October 18, 2016)
  • Donald Trump denied Stoynoff’s allegations and then claimed at one of his campaign rallies that he considered her too sexually unattractive to assault. “The Republican presidential nominee has denied the accusation, saying Stoynoff fabricated the incident. He also suggested Stoynoff, 51, is not physically attractive enough to merit his attention. ‘She lies! Look at her, I don't think so,’ Trump, 70, said last week at a campaign rally. Stoynoff is one of about a dozen women who have recently accused Trump of such misconduct as groping, unexpected kisses on the mouth and unwanted sexual advances.” (Chicago Tribune, October 19, 2016)
  • Stoynoff was able to produce six separate witnesses who could corroborate that she had told them of the assault by Trump shortly after it had happened. “People magazine published an article on Tuesday that quoted six people who claimed to corroborate the sexual assault allegation made against Donald J. Trump by the magazine writer Natasha Stoynoff, which both Mr. Trump and his wife, Melania, have angrily denied. Ms. Stoynoff accused Mr. Trump of cornering her alone in 2005 and ‘pushing me against the wall and forcing his tongue down my throat’ while she was at his Florida residence to interview him and his wife for an article on their first wedding anniversary. […] The six people quoted in the latest article include two editors from People, Mary Green and Liz McNeil; a professor of journalism, Paul McLaughlin; a co-worker; and two personal friends of Ms. Stoynoff. All of them said Ms. Stoynoff told them about the episode around the time it occurred.” (New York Times, October 19, 2016)
  • One of Stoynoff’s witnesses claimed that she had been told of the assault the day after it happened. “Marina Grasic, a longtime friend of Ms. Stoynoff, told People that the writer called her the next day and described both the attack and Mr. Trump's proposition. ‘Beyond just the attack, she was horrified by the vulgar circumstances under which she was attacked and propositioned to have an affair,’ Ms. Grasic said. ‘She was there in a professional capacity, writing an article about their happy marriage, and after the incident Trump acted like nothing happened. She was particularly concerned that if he was capable of such behavior, what else was he capable of?’ Ms. Grasic added.” (New York Times, October 19, 2016)
  • Melania Trump demanded a retraction of an anecdote relayed in Stoynoff’s story where she described a later encounter with Melania in New York City, with Melania contending that the encounter had not happened. “Melania Trump is demanding a retraction and apology after People magazine published reporter Natasha Stoynoff's first-person account of being pinned against a wall and kissed by Donald Trump when she interviewed both Trumps at Mar-a-Lago in 2005. […] What makes Melania Trump's beef with People so amazing is that the list she and Harder compiled of supposedly ‘fictionalized’ material has nothing to do with Stoynoff's assault claim. At all. A demand letter sent to the magazine focuses entirely on a minor anecdote, near the end of the article, in which Stoynoff describes running into Melania Trump on a street in New York several months after the alleged assault. […] To review: Melania Trump is not disputing Stoynoff's claim that Donald Trump assaulted her. Melania Trump is disputing Stoynoff's claim that the two women had a chance encounter on a city street several months later.[…] The letter to People is not an admission that Donald Trump assaulted Stoynoff, but it is not a denial, either. Melania Trump has a reputation to protect. Her own.” (Washington Post, October 14, 2016)
  • Stoynoff was able to produce an eyewitness who specifically remembered the encounter with Melania in New York City. “In Stoynoff's first-person account, she also wrote of a chance meeting and brief conversation with Melania Trump along New York's Fifth Avenue weeks later. She said Trump's third wife was by then carrying the couple's infant son, Barron, in her arms while outside Trump Tower. She said Melania called her by her first name and gave her a hug. But Melania Trump said in an interview with CNN broadcast Monday that the conversation never happened. ‘I was never friends with her. I would not recognize her,’ the candidate's wife said of Stoynoff. However, a sixth person quoted in People's story on Tuesday, Liza Herz, said she was with Stoynoff and remembers the moment well. ‘They chatted in a friendly way,’ Herz is quoted as saying. ‘And what struck me most was that Melania was carrying a child and wearing heels.’” (Chicago Tribune, October 19, 2016)