Miss’d Connections

The Race to Smear Miss Universe Alicia Machado as a Bloodthirsty, Drug Lord-Loving Porn Star

Rush Limbaugh was quick to dub newfound Trump campaign foe Alicia Machado ‘porn star Miss Piggy’ because someone who looked like her once appeared in porn. It wasn’t her, though.

09.28.16 11:20 PM ET

Alicia Machado, the former Miss Universe whom Donald Trump repeatedly attacked for her weight both in 1996 and this week, is a Venezuelan porn actress with a history of violence and palling around with shady characters running drug cartels. That’s how some of Trump’s closest media allies and his armada of alt-right internet trolls are trying to frame the beauty queen’s life on Wednesday, at least.

At Monday night’s presidential debate, Machado received a round of national media attention when Hillary Clinton mentioned her myriad interactions with Trump—which included the real-estate mogul forcing Machado, who he called “an eating machine,” to do sit-ups in front of a “rowdy pool of reporters.”

Trump’s past nicknames for her reportedly included “Miss Housekeeping” and “Miss Piggy.” (For her part, Machado’s nickname for Trump is “Nazi rat.”)

“She has become a U.S. citizen and you can bet she is going to vote this November,” Clinton said. (Machado has been working and coordinating with the Clinton campaign for weeks now, having campaigned for Hillary and shot a video for her.)

Trump took the bait, and began bashing Machado all over again this week.

“She was the [Miss Universe] winner and, you know, she gained a massive amount of weight and it was a real problem—we had a real problem,” Trump said on Fox News Tuesday morning, in defense of his past actions, which Machado claims caused her to have “anorexia and bulimia for five years.”

“Not only that, her attitude, and we had a real problem with her, so Hillary went back into the years and she found this girl… and talked about her like she was Mother Teresa,” he continued.

On Wednesday, the Trump campaign sent out talking points regarding Machado, stating that her claims were “totally baseless and unsubstantiated,” and that she was trying to “gain notoriety at the expense of Mr. Trump’s name and reputation.” But when The New York Times asked Trump about those claims in May, he simply replied: “To that, I will plead guity.”

Less than a day after Clinton namechecked the former beauty queen at the presidential debate, Cosmopolitan and The Guardian both dropped largely positive profiles on Machado. (In Cosmo’s case, one with a photo spread, too.) Neither profile mentioned Machado’s tabloid-heavy past controversies, like when she was accused of driving the getaway car from the scene of a shooting in 1998. (A Venezuelan judge concluded that there was insufficient evidence to arrest her as a suspected accomplice in the attempted homicide. Her boyfriend at the time was indicted.)

On Tuesday, the pro-Trump backlash against Machado kicked off, with stories from her past taking center stage.

“Miss Universe ‘fat-shamed’ by Donald Trump was accused of threatening to kill a judge and being an accomplice to a MURDER bid in her native Venezuela,” the Daily Mail reported on Tuesday, noting that it was “unknown if [the] Clinton campaign vetted Machado.”

Infowars, the conspiracy-theory-mongering website run by the Trump-supporting radio host Alex Jones, declared Machado a “PORN STAR” who did “anal porn scenes for cash,” and was also “reportedly the incubus for the child of a notorious Mexican drug kingpin.”

Get The Beast In Your Inbox!
By clicking "Subscribe," you agree to have read the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy
Thank You!
You are now subscribed to the Daily Digest and Cheat Sheet. We will not share your email with anyone for any reason

Other right-wing sites, including The Daily Caller, ran with the porn-star rumors. Outlets such as far right birther website WorldNetDaily and Fox News regurgitated the death-threat allegation and the murder-conspiracy angle. Tuesday evening on CNN, Trump surrogate Scottie Nell Hughes knocked Machado for appearing in Playboy magazine. And Breitbart—Trump’s staunchest media ally and defender, and whose honcho is currently the “CEO” of the Trump campaign—went all-in with the cartel “lovechild” accusation.

Conservative talk-radio icon Rush Limbaugh boldly dubbed her the “porn-star Miss Piggy.”

“Who would have believed that, whether or not, a former Miss Universe became a Miss Piggy and a porn star would become such a big deal in the campaign—but it has,” he opined on Wednesday. “It’s the biggest stack [of papers] I got. I’ve got stacks of stuff here and the porn-star Miss Piggy… who’s now campaigning with Hillary—a former porn star is campaigning for Hillary against Trump.”

A former porn actress this year did star in an ad for a presidential candidate—but it wasn’t Machado. It was an actress named Amy Lindsay, who starred in an ad for Ted Cruz.

Contrary to Infowars’s in-depth reporting, there does not appear to be any evidence suggesting the existence of professionally made pornography starring Machado.

Hoax-debunking website Snopes determined that some of the hardcore clips circulating online this week under Machado’s name are in fact from the 2004 feature Apprentass 4, starring Angel Dark. The Daily Beast reviewed the pornographic videos (for journalism!) posted under her name, and didn’t see much resemblance to the former beauty queen and current Trump foe.

Machado did pose topless for Playboy, however, and participated in some rather risqué reality TV—facts that many of those conservative news outlets were quick to highlight.

(Trump, himself, has appeared on the cover of Playboy, and once talked to a woman on The Apprentice, his NBC reality series, about “dropping to [her] knees” and how that “must be a pretty picture.” His wife, Melania, has also modeled nude in the past.)

No arrest was ever made regarding Machado’s alleged complicity in a failed homicide, and no charges were ever filed against the outspoken Venezuelan celebrity.

Machado has also repeatedly denied the gossip and news articles promoting claims that her daughter’s biological father was a notorious drug kingpin.

In the local press, Machado has named Mexican businessman Rafael Hernández as her child’s father, not Jose Gerardo Alvarez, who was arrested for drug trafficking in 2010. That same year, a romantic relationship between Machado and Alvarez was alleged by a protected witness in a testimony to Mexican authorities.

Machado does indeed have a colorful, controversy-laden past worth reexamining in her newfound spotlight. The former Miss Universe doesn’t claim to be an angel of any sort, herself, and she said as much when CNN host Anderson Cooper asked her on Tuesday night about “these reports [about you] that the Trump surrogates are talking about” this week.

“[Trump] can say whatever he wants to say, I don’t care,” she responded. “You know, I have my past. Of course, everybody has a past. I’m not a saint girl. But that is not the point now.”

But to Trump campaign surrogates and the GOP nominee’s friends in conservative media, stories from her past very much are—and will continue to be—the point, whether any of it happened or not.

Machado’s publicist and the Clinton campaign did not respond to requests for an interview.