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U.S. President Donald Trump. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

‘Predatory behavior’

Former Trump campaign staffer breaks NDA to accuse Trump of kissing her without consent

By WITW Staff on February 27, 2019

A staff member on Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign has broken her nondisclosure agreement to allege “racial and gender discrimination” and to accuse Trump of kissing her partially on the mouth.

Alva Johnson, the campaign’s former administrative field operations director in Florida, filed a lawsuit on Monday alleging that Trump tried to kiss her in a campaign R.V. before a speech at an event she helped organize in Tampa in August 2016. She tried to turn away, she said, but his mouth made contact with the corner of hers. The incident, she said, drove her to tears and resulted in recurring nightmares. She continued to go into work, but decided to resign in October after hearing the infamous Access Hollywood tape in which Trump said, among other things: “I just start kissing them (women). It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”

Despite becoming convinced that Trump’s actions reflected a broader pattern of behavior, Johnson said she initially avoided speaking out because she feared retribution from the president and his supporters. But after allegedly discovering that Trump’s campaign had paid her white male colleagues significantly more than her, she said she felt she could no longer stay silent — even if her NDA required her too.

“I am suing because my work holds the same value as the work of my white male counterparts,” Johnson told Ronan Farrow in an interview for The New Yorker. “I am suing because this predatory behavior should not be minimized, especially when committed by the most powerful man in the world.”

Just days before Johnson officially filed her complaint, Jessica Denson, a former Hispanic engagement director for the Trump campaign, submitted a class-action claim seeking to invalidate all the NDAs signed by Trump campaign workers. In November 2017, Denson sued the campaign over alleged sexual harassment, discrimination, and cyberbullying perpetrated by one of her supervisors. In response, the Trump Organization moved to enforce her NDA and force her into a private arbitration. The legal battle in that case is still ongoing.

Read the full story at The New Yorker.

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