On Wednesday, The New York Times released interviews with two women, Jessica Leeds and Rachel Crooks, who claim they were inappropriately touched by Donald Trump at different times over the past 30 years.
Here’s what you need to know about Jessica Leeds.
1. Leeds Says the Incident Took Place on a Plane in the 1980s
In her interview with the New York Times, Leeds, now 74, says that at the time of the incident she was a sales rep hired by a newsprint company. She was traveling back to New York City from the midwest when the stewardess asked if she’d like to move up to first class about 45 minutes into the flight.
Rachel Crooks has also come forward to discuss her encounter with Trump. Cooks was 22-years-old at the time she claims she was touched, and worked as a receptionist at Bayrock Group, an investment company in Trump Towers in Manhattan. She says that in 2005, after her company did business with Trump, she introduced herself to the real estate mogul. The New York Times writes, “They shook hands, but Mr. Trump would not let go… Instead, he began kissing her cheeks. Then, she said, he ‘kissed me directly on the mouth.'”
2. She Was a Businesswoman at a Paper Company
When Leeds moved up to first class, she was introduced to Trump. She admits that at the time, she wasn’t aware of the “real estate world of Trump”. The two chatted casually for some time, but when the stewardess cleared their meal, Trump pulled up the armrest. “It was a real shock when, all of a sudden, his hands were all over me.”
Leeds goes on to say, “I hesitate to use this expression, but I’m going to, and that is, he was like an octopus. It was like he had six arms.”
3. She Says Trump Put His Hand up Her Skirt and Grabbed Her Breasts
Leeds admits that she doesn’t think she would be quite so upset if Trump’s hands didn’t venture away from the upper part of her body. “It’s when he started putting his hand up my skirt… and that was it. That was it. I was out of there.” The New York Times writes, “According to Ms. Leeds, Mr. Trump grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt.”
Leeds immediately left and headed back to her original seat.
On Thursday, reports Vox, a spokeswoman for the Trump campaign named Katrina Pierson said that Leeds’ story is a lie since armrests in first class were fixed in the 80s. “We’re talking about the early 1980s, Don, seriously? Back then you had planes — what, a DC-9, a DC-10, an MD-80, a 707, and maybe an L-1011. But she said specifically that this was to New York. This is important, so we can X-out the DC-10 and the L-1011. Guess what? First-class seats have fixed armrests.”
NYC Aviation invalidated Pierson’s claims by Tweeting, “… the aircraft types you mentioned all did operate into New York City.”
4. She Emailed the New York Times After the Second Presidential Debate
During the second presidential debate, Trump said he had never touched or kissed a woman without her permission. Leeds tells the New York Times that she wanted to “punch the screen” when Trump said that.
Leeds didn’t begin discussing her encounter with Trump until a year and a half ago, when it was apparent that he was actually running for president. During the 70s and 80s, she believes society instilled in victims that it was somehow their fault if they were sexually assaulted or harassed. She explains that culture perpetuated the idea that you had to “buck up and [move] on.”
Though many years have passed, Leeds hopes that sharing her story publicly will make a difference in the election and in society.
5. People Are Thanking Leeds On Social Media
Since The New York Times posted their article on Wednesday afternoon, people have flocked to social media to express their gratitude to Leeds for sharing her story.
Others are suspicious of Leeds and Crooks, and wonder why they took so long to reveal their experiences.
Click here to watch the Times video.