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04.05.10

The Woman Behind Tiger's Other Women

Golf may be welcoming back its star this week at the Masters, but one woman isn't ready to forgive him: Gloria Allred. Jacob Bernstein on the power-suited lawyer's latest press skirmish—and her plans for Woods' porn-star mistress.

All Gloria Allred really wanted was an apology.

Of course, the lawyer had gotten way more than that out of Tiger Woods in the last five months—her client Rachel Uchitel reportedly walked away with $10 million in exchange for not selling her story to the tabloids—but still she was angry.

Because as Allred saw it, Woods didn’t just let down his fans. Or his wife. Or his kids. Or his agents, managers, caddies, and sponsors, all of whom he has at one point or another apologized to by now.

“He’s called them transgressions,” Allred said. “Women are not transgressions. They are human beings.”

He also let down strippers, bottle service girls, pancake hostesses, and one auburn-haired double-D adult film star whom Allred was in Manhattan escorting around on Monday afternoon.

What really peeves Allred is that Woods has not said sorry to any of them, these maligned women who’ve been the object of jokes and the recipient of little more than scorn and indifference. “He’s called them transgressions,” Allred said. “Women are not transgressions. They are human beings.”

Rebecca Dana: The Elin StrategyNot that she was really expecting the golfer to acknowledge her client Joslyn James at his Monday press conference, where he answered questions from the media for the first time.

Still, it was a good opportunity and so Allred seized it, drafted a speech, waltzed into the Friars Club on East 55th Street with her client, and held a press conference of her own.

If Tiger has been blind to the plight of loose women, at least the press is sympathetic.

There in the cramped little room on the third floor was Fox News and Reuters, not to mention the New York Daily News, Channels 2, 4, 5, 7, and 11, and an editor from Harper’s Bazaar.

Apparently, they’re trying to do a profile of Allred.

Who isn’t?

Although she’s been one of the most visible lawyers in the country for upward of a decade—“the patron saint of slow news days,” as the San Francisco Chronicle described her in 2004—Allred and her power suits have been particularly ubiquitous of late. Last spring, she was representing children’s rights advocate Paul Peterson, who filed suit against Nadya Suleman, accusing her of commercially exploiting her octuplets. In the fall came Uchitel, the first woman linked to Woods.

After the money reportedly came rolling in from the horndog golfer, practically everyone with a tenuous connection to Woods wanted a piece of Allred. There were at least two other purported mistresses, including James. Even Tiger’s old kindergarten teacher demanded an apology. So Allred was there for her, too.

At the Friars Club on Monday, Allred had no shortage of anger at Woods. “Tiger Woods held his news conference at the Masters today,” she began. “Noticeably absent from his statement was any apology for the lies that he told to Josyln James, with whom he had a three-year romantic relationship, and any apology to [his teacher] Maureen Decker… Given the fact that Tiger refuses to apologize for his lies, which have deeply hurt both of these women, we believe that he has not been rehabilitated, since steps 8 and 9 of the 12-step recovery program for addicts is for the addict to make direct amends to the persons whom the addict has harmed.”

Allred also took aim at Woods for playing this week at the Masters, held at the Augusta National Golf Club, which excludes women as members.

As she saw it, this was adding insult to injury, further indication that the golf pro cares nothing about the plight of women.

“In the past,” Allred explained, “Tiger… was quoted as saying about gender discrimination at Augusta, ‘It would be nice to see everyone have an equal chance to participate if they want to, but there is nothing you can do about it.’ Tiger Woods was, and is, wrong. There was, and is, something he could do about it, but has chosen to not to… He could refuse to play there as long as they continue to discriminate against women… Is the reason that he refuses to take that courageous step the fact that, according to published reports in the past, that the Augusta National Golf Club donated $500,000 to the Tiger Woods Foundation? In the alternative, has he decided that his own career is more important than the violation of the rights of women?”

Allred continued for another moment or so, then turned the microphone over to her client, who opened by calling Woods “a big fat liar.”

Did James actually expect Woods to address her, a reporter asked?

“I am not surprised,” she said, “but I am disappointed.”

Did the former mistress have any sympathy for Woods’ wife, Elin, asked another, the implication being that if she did, perhaps she would now go away?

“I have enormous sympathy for her,” she replied, “but she deserves to know the truth.”

James particularly wasn’t buying Woods’ claim that he was emotionally devastated by not being able to show up for his son’s first birthday because he was off at a sex-rehabilitation facility. “I was with him 10 days after his daughter was born,” she said, citing it as evidence of what she saw as total indifference to his children. She called that statement “a bunch of bullcrap.”

Is she still in love with Woods?

“I’ll always have feelings for him,” James said, but added that she’d realized she needed to meet someone who wasn’t married, who could love her for who she really is.

Allred concluded by announcing what James would be doing next: heading to Atlanta to perform nude at the Pink Pony Club.

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Jacob Bernstein is a senior reporter at The Daily Beast. Previously, he was a features writer at WWD and W Magazine. He has also written for New York magazine, Paper, and The Huffington Post.