Natasha Stoynoff on Donald Trump’s Very Personal Attacks: 'It's an Attempt to Silence Women'
It has been just three weeks since former PEOPLE writer Natasha Stoynoff broke her silence to reveal a harrowing attack by Donald Trump
Sitting down to talk to PEOPLE Editor-in-Chief Jess Cagle on camera for the first time in a People Entertainment Weekly Network exclusive, Stoynoff reveals how she has endured the presidential candidate’s very personal and public attacks.
“I have for the first time in my life read and heard very hateful things directed towards me, but at the same time very kind and compassionate words from people including many strangers, so it’s been a combination of that,” she says.
Stoynoff’s first-person account of the incident, which happened while Trump’s wife Melania was pregnant with their son Barron, made national headlines.
While at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, Stoynoff recounted last month, “We walked into that room alone, and Trump shut the door behind us. I turned around, and within seconds he was pushing me against the wall and forcing his tongue down my throat.”
When asked by Cagle about Trump’s promise to sue all the women who have come forward to accuse him of attacks, Stoynoff says: “I look at that as an attempt to silence women, perhaps other women coming forward, and also to strike fear in the hearts of the women who have already come forward. And unfortunately, that tactic works.
“But that’s why I’m here today, to show that we shouldn’t be afraid.”
Stoynoff has also stayed quiet while Trump denied the attack and hit back at her on the campaign trail – insulting her appearance and yelling, “She lies! Look at her, I don’t think so.”
Asked if his comments upset her, Stoynoff insists, “I don’t really care if he finds me attractive or not. I actually would rather he doesn’t find me attractive.”
She adds, “He obviously or apparently found me attractive enough 11 years ago. I don’t take that as a personal insult – but I do take that as insult to all women, especially to women who have been severely sexually assaulted.”
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“I think that he’s saying that only pretty women get assaulted. It’s hard sometimes to decipher what he’s saying, but that’s how I took it,” Stoynoff says. “No man of dignity would speak that way.”
Stoynoff also reveals she was persuaded to be “brave” by PEOPLE editors, saying, “I first wanted to do the story without my name, I didn’t want it to be traced to me at all. I just wanted to be anonymous.
“The only reason my name is on it is after talking to [my editors] they convinced me for it to be a solid, truthful story, I had to be brave enough to put my name to it, so I did it,” she says.
Asked if she was glad to speak out, Stoynoff tells Cagle, “Yes. I don’t know what the next week will bring, but one thing I do know is that this has helped discussion about some very important issues.”
“It’s difficult, but it’s freeing.”
Click here for the full interview with Stoynoff.