Summer Zervos, a contestant on the fifth season of The Apprentice, came forward on Friday afternoon to accuse Republican nominee Donald Trump of kissing, groping and thrusting his genitals on her during a business meeting. She is the sixth accuser to come forward alleging sexual misconduct by Trump this week alone. At least four other women, including two former beauty pageant queens, one business associate and his ex-wife Ivana, have made accusations in the past.
Zervos, the first contestant fired from her season Trump’s reality TV show, said she approached the businessman about a job at his company in 2007, after she appeared on the show. They met first in Trump Tower to discuss the opportunity, where she says he kissed her twice on the mouth and asked for her phone number. Weeks later, she says he arranged to meet with her at a hotel in Los Angeles, where Zervos says he kissed, groped and thrust his genitals on her.
Two weeks ago, the Associated Press published a report describing Trump’s often lewd conduct on-set at the TV show. Some 20 former employees and contestants testified to the fact that Trump rated female contestants and employees’ bodies, compared their bodies to his daughter Ivanka’s and openly discussed which women he would like to have sex with. Since the story ran, at least one Apprentice producer has said that more damaging tapes exist but that employees are contractually forbidden from sharing them with the press.
Zervos recounted her experience with Trump at a press conference held by her lawyer, Gloria Allred, in Los Angeles. This isn’t the first time Allred has tangled with Trump. In 2012, she represented transgender beauty queen Jenna Talackova in a suit against the Miss Universe Organization, which threatened to bar Talackova from competing because of her birth gender. During their legal stand-off, Trump told TMZ that Allred would be “very, very impressed” if she saw a picture of his genitals. “I think she’d have a whole brand new image of Donald Trump,” he added.
Trump campaign CEO Steve Bannon told campaign staffers earlier this week that the campaign beat back the accusations against Trump by focusing on Bill Clinton’s scandals. “We’re going to turn him into Bill Cosby,” Bannon reportedly said of Clinton. Instead, as woman after woman appears with their own unique and similar story, it’s Trump whose wave of allegations more resembles Cosby’s. The fact that Allred is now involved only bolsters that impression: She also represents about half of the more than 50 women who have accused Cosby of assault.
As Zervos and Allred held their press conference in Los Angeles, Trump was in a rally in North Carolina, where he mocked his female accusers, motioning with his hands in the air to imitate their accusations.
He may have to add more impressions to repertoire; as Allred indicated on Friday, more accusers may still be waiting to share their stories. “Many more women have contacted me,” Allred said on Friday. “Will they be coming forward? I can’t answer that question at this time.”