E. Jean Carroll is considering pursuing legal action against President Trump, she has told The Daily Beast.
Carroll recently hit the headlines when she claimed that Trump raped her in Bergdorf Goodman in the mid-’90s.
The alleged assault occurred long before New York lifted its statute of limitations against rape, but Carroll said she is “thinking about hiring a really smart attorney” to pursue legal action against Trump.
“I hadn’t thought about pressing charges, but now people are convincing me that it's smart,” she told The Daily Beast. “If I get a really smart attorney, we might be able to get around [the statute]. I’ll be exploring it.”
Hours after her allegations broke on June 21, Carroll appeared on The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell. The MSNBC host asked if Carroll planned on filing charges; she said she would not.
“I would find it disrespectful to the women who are down on the border who are being raped around the clock down there without any protection,” Carroll explained.
Carroll was speaking on Sunday after leading a group of women through the streets of New York City on her Hideous Men Walking Tour. She greeted her guests looking like a swashbuckling hero in equestrian pants, dark riding boots, carrying a white flag blazoned with her family’s crest.
Carroll was not there to talk chivalry—ticket-holders have come to spend their Sunday tracing the alleged misdeeds of modern day villains from Matt Lauer and Woody Allen to “3,000 pound serial rapist” Harvey Weinstein.
Of course, many have schlepped to Bergdorf Goodman, which serves as Carroll’s trailhead, after reading her book excerpt accusing Trump of assaulting her there.
Carroll began the free tour by detailing the beginning of the attack—only referring to Trump violating an unnamed “woman”—but she stopped short of recounting the full event. She then directed anyone who still has not heard of her rape claims in full to read her new book, What Do We Need Men For? (It is the only time the writer name-drops her release.)
But for every reptilian abuser who has “pestered, hounded, rogered, or underpaid” a woman, Carroll celebrates the female heroes who expose these dreadful men.
Accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein has “the goddess Julie K. Brown,” who doggedly investigated his crimes in a Miami Herald series. R. Kelly’s numerous victims got their day in court courtesy of filmmaker Dream Hampton, who produced a widely watched documentary series tracing his many abuses.
And Trump, of course, faces a deluge of accusers—Carroll is the twenty-fourth woman to come forward with claims of misconduct.
“It is not hard to come forward and tell your story,” Carroll told The Daily Beast at an Irish bar near Rockefeller Center after her tour, over a glass of Guinness and bowl of split pea soup. “More women should do it, but they can’t because they’ll lose their jobs, their husbands will lose their jobs, or their kids will get ostracized at school. I don’t have any of that, because I don’t give a shit.”
Carroll said she was able to ignore the “ridiculous troll farms” who malign her online. But as she told The Guardian late last week, such vitriol has inspired her to put ammo in the gun she’s “always” had. (“It’s hilarious to pull out when I talk to friends,” Carroll said, miming a pistol with her fingers.)
“I’m not really fighting,” she said in the next breath, noting the family of black bears that live near her cabin in upstate New York, located about two hours from the city. “I’ve got the bear in the yard. If someone comes, Mama Bear will say, ‘Step over here and you’re a dead man.’ I’m protected. This is great! I don’t even need a gun.”
Though #MeToo has amplified awareness of the Hideous Men among us, Carroll believes real change has been slow.
“Not many women have come forward,” she said. “They’re coming forward on Twitter, which is not coming forward. It’s excellent, but it means diddly squat. It enlivens everyone but only for a day.”
To really make a difference, according to Carroll, women have to “go out on the streets—go up to your boss, call the police,” and report offenders.
Carroll is now considering doing just that with her own accusations, which were first published in New York magazine, accompanied by a cover shot by Amanda Demme, Carroll wearing the same Donna Karan coat dress she said Trump assaulted her in.
“It’s a Donna Karan beautiful wool coat dress—would you have thrown it away?” she replied, when asked why she kept it, unworn, in her closet for 20 years. “I could never throw that away. I haven’t been able to wear it, but I bought stock in Donna Karan’s company when she went public.”
Despite the dark subject matter Carroll deals these days, she remains quick to laugh and unsinkable, with a plucky point of view and penchant for throwing out high-fives (sometimes to total strangers on the street). She’s a #MeToo cheerleader, but she also gleefully romanticizes the “good old days, way before [the movement], when everyone was screwing everyone at Rolling Stone.” It was, in her words, “fabulous.”
Carroll wants Trump out of the White House, preferably replaced by a woman. “I secretly think that Oprah is the only one who could beat him,” she said. “The [nominee] would need to be famous—they’ve never heard of Warren or Harris in Arkansas. Maybe Ellen [DeGeneres].”
Carroll will continue to hold her Hideous Men tours for select Sunday evenings until early October; she plans to stop when it gets cold outside. After that, “I think we’ll go on to L.A. and do some Hideous Men City Tours,” she mused. “This is not the only place where there are hideous men—Italy, South America.”
It’s a job she clearly enjoys. Around six women braved a 90-degree day to follow Carroll (and her flag) around midtown. The ticketed event, which can hold up to 30 people, was sold out, but Carroll thinks many people skipped out on the tour to “go to the beach” instead.
Their loss—Carroll delighted her group, striking up conversations with us all, learning everyone's name and jobs.
“I always wake up and say, I’m going to cancel today’s tour,” Carroll said. “Then, I get up, I see my dog, and I think, OK, this sounds like fun. I’ll drive in and I’m always so happy when I do.”
Each week, Carroll parks her Prius, which she affectionately named Miss Bingley after the Pride and Prejudice character, in the same Midtown parking garage. In typical E. Jean fashion, she noticed the garage attendant reads Mrs. Dalloway during his shift.
That fact charms Carroll to no end. To her, it just goes to show: “There’s a secret feminist in everyone!”