While women in the entertainment industry and beyond may rejoice and feel vindicated by the public downfall of Hollywood producer and sexual predator Harvey Weinstein, BuzzFeed’s Kendall Taggart and Jessica Garrison say that one group of women feels stung by the lack of justice in their own cases.
In 2016, more than a dozen women came forward with stories of sexual harassment, kissing, groping and other inappropriate conduct by then-candidate Donald Trump. Trump denied the allegations and his attorney Marc Kasowitz threatened to sue the women and any publication that ran their stories.
That lawsuit never materialized, but the women who sacrificed their anonymity “watched the man they say humiliated and abused them get elected president of the United States,” said BuzzFeed.
“When he won, I felt like I lost,” said Melissa McGillivray, a Palm Springs, FL photographer’s assistant who said in October of 2016 that Trump “grabbed my a**” at a Mar-a-Lago event.
Now, McGillivray told BuzzFeed, she is living in hiding after getting deluged with hateful abuse and threats of violence for speaking out against Trump. She said the reason Weinstein’s accusers are getting more attention is because they’re wealthy and famous.
“We have women coming out that are celebrities and of course it gets more traction. They have more credibility than I do,” she said.
Temple Taggart McDowell — a former Miss Utah who said last year that Trump repeatedly kissed her on the mouth without her permission — told BuzzFeed that it was gratifying to see Weinstein unseated from his position of power, but it still left her “sad” that when it came to her accusations against Trump, “they brushed it all under the rug.”
Taggart was viciously attacked on social media after she broke her silence.
“It makes you realize why women don’t come forward,” she said.
Jessica Leeds, 70, came forward in 2016 to reveal that Trump groped her during a commercial airline flight.
“A longtime New Yorker, she said that on the streets, she has been greeted with joy and thanks for speaking out. Women have come up to her on the subway and even in the shower at the gym to thank her and extol her bravery. Every woman who came up to her, she said, had their own story of being sexually harassed,” said BuzzFeed.
Leeds, too, was subject to heated abuse after former CNN host Lou Dobbs posted her phone number and contact information online.
She told BuzzFeed that her only regret is that her story “didn’t have more impact.”
“I hoped it did, but it didn’t,” she said.
Weinstein was ousted from the board of the Motion Picture Academy on Saturday.