A conspiracy theory about advice columnist E. Jean Carroll’s rape allegations against President Donald Trump is making the rounds on Twitter.
According to a number of Trump supporters, Carroll’s account of the president sexually assaulting her 23 years ago is eerily similar to the plot of a 2012 episode of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”
In an excerpt from her forthcoming book published Friday by New York magazine, Carroll recounts how a chance encounter with Trump led to them sharing a dressing room in the lingerie section of Berdorf Goodman, an upscale Manhattan department store. Suddenly, she says, Trump forced himself on her.
“I try to push him off with my one free hand — for some reason, I keep holding my purse with the other — and I finally get a knee up high enough to push him out and off and I turn, open the door, and run out of the dressing room,” she writes.
“The whole episode lasts no more than three minutes. I do not believe he ejaculates. I don’t remember if any person or attendant is now in the lingerie department.”
Two anonymous sources told New York magazine that Carroll had told them about the alleged rape soon after it occurred. But Trump has denied Carroll’s claims, saying he doesn’t even remember meeting her and she’s not his “type.”
Another case of “Theater Tricks”?
After Carroll repeated her story on several cable news show, conservative social media users this week began sharing a clip from the “Law & Order” episode, called “Theater Tricks.” At stake in the Season 13, Episode 11, drama are rape allegations, a powerful man’s reputation and the sometimes-ambiguous line between performance and reality.
The Twitter conspiracy theorists zoomed in on a scene in which a respected judge suspected of rape seeks to clear his name by recounting a consensual sexual encounter he says he had in a Berdorf Goodman lingerie dressing room.
“The roleplay took place in the dressing room of Bergdorf’s,” the character, played by Kevin Pollak, tells police. “While she was trying on lingerie I would burst in.”
“No way!” tweeted social media commentator Mindy Robison, citing Carroll’s claims. “[I]t’s literally the plot line to an old ‘Law and Order’ episode.”
No way! Trump’s clearly unhinged accuser claims he raped her in a Manhattan Bergdoff dressing room…..it’s literally the plot line to an old “Law and Order” episode. ??♀️ pic.twitter.com/4J0eajQpIv
— Mindy Robinson ?? (@iheartmindy) June 26, 2019
“What a coincidence!” said another Twitter user, noting that Carroll suggested rape was widely seen as “sexy” in a CNN appearance Monday. “PROSECUTE HER!!”
BUSTED! Trump accuser E. Jean Carroll claimed she was raped in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room & said yesterday most women think of rape as a fantasy!
Here's a clip from Law & Order of a rape fantasy in the dressing room of THE SAME STORE! What a coincidence!?
PROSECUTE HER!! pic.twitter.com/I0XuQTXwWk
— MAGA MICHELLE ?????? (@Trump454545) June 25, 2019
Paul Joseph Watson wrote on his Summit News blog that “Carroll’s story mirrors almost exactly a plot line from an episode of Law & Order: SVU.” He called it a “stunning coincidence.”
How we got to E. Jean Carroll and “SVU”
Though they didn’t alway say so outright, the commentators’ clear implication was that Carroll adapted her story from the “Law & Order” episode. However far-fetched, such speculation has been encouraged by the Elle magazine columnist’s relative lack of corroborating evidence and offbeat TV interviews.
Even conservatives with no patience for conspiracy theories have greeted Carroll’s account with weary skepticism. After all, the Trump era has seen many faux-scandals come and go, from Trump-Russia collusion to the supposedly hateful Covington teens – not to mention Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh‘s confirmation hearings.
Meanwhile, some liberals have pointed to the some 20 other women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct, all of whose claims the president has denied. But the protests by the left have been largely half-hearted, and the media has downplayed the story.
The New York Times, which helped launch the #MeToo movement with its expose on Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, initially relegated Carroll’s allegations to the Books section. It published a follow-up report on the 23rd page of the front section of the print edition.
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