Jessica Drake, an adult film star and sexual health educator, joined the ranks of nearly a dozen other women who have publicly accused Donald Trump of making unwanted, nonconsensual sexual advances.
At a press conference on Saturday, Drake said Trump violated her and two other women when they visited his hotel suite a decade ago during a golf tournament in Lake Tahoe, California. Mic reached out to Drake for comment, but has not yet heard back.
"He grabbed each of us tightly, in a hug and kissed each one of us without asking permission," Drake told reporters. Nearly an hour after the women left Trump's room, she added, the candidate called Drake on the phone and asked her to return alone, offering to pay her $10,000.
As has become customary at this point, Trump responded to Drake's allegations on Monday by denying them outright, calling her account "made up" and "total fiction," according to CNN. Though, instead of simply calling the adult star a liar, the beleaguered candidate took it one step further: Trump insinuated he couldn't have abused Drake because she's a sex worker.
"One said, 'he grabbed me on the arm.' And she's a porn star. You know, this one that came out recently, 'he grabbed me and he grabbed me on the arm.' Oh, I'm sure she's never been grabbed before," Trump said in an interview with WGIR's "New Hampshire Today."
Much like his supporters, many of whom spent the weekend criticizing Drake on social media, Trump implied the star's (very successful) career in porn somehow absolves him of any alleged misconduct. To them, clearly, if a woman works in the sex industry, it's not like she can be sexually assaulted.
By conflating the porn performer's occupation with her right to bodily autonomy, he has insinuated that getting paid to have (consensual) sex means losing the right to reject unwanted sexual advances for any reason. This is fundamentally not true.
"There's the [view] that [sexual assault] 'can't' happen to a sex worker," Kayden Kross, who works in the adult film industry, said in an interview with Mic at the 2016 Adult Video News Expo. "Regardless of what your sexual history is, you get to say no, and [the other] person has to listen — and if they don't, that's a criminal activity."
Drake is a human being, just like all sex workers and each of the women who have accused Trump of sexual abuse. By tying her work history to his own alleged misconduct, Trump has done more than imply how he feels about people in the sex industry. He's demonstrated that he doesn't view them as people at all.