What were you doing at 5:30 this morning? Sleeping? Going for an early morning run?
Well, while you were doing that, a candidate for President of the United States (guess which one) was tweeting about sex tapes.
Donald Trump inexplicably forced his ongoing feud with former Miss Universe Alicia Machado into yet another news cycle on Friday, urging voters to “check out” an alleged “sex tape” from Machado in an effort to discredit his latest high-profile detractor. Whether shaming a former employee at 5:30 in the morning is a winning path to the White House remains to be seen.
Trump’s latest efforts to smear Machado seem to center on a supposed incident during her time on Spanish reality TV show La Granja. As rumor-debunking site Snopes explains, it’s a well-trailed, but seriously, flawed, claim:
Machado is also often described as having been in a “sex tape,” a claim that stems from her 2005 appearance on the Spanish reality show La Granja (similar to the United States’ The Real World), which she was reportedly kicked off of after being filmed having sex with another cast member.
However, the so-called “sex tape” stemming from that incident, which is nothing more than some grainy, night-vision footage of a couple of covered figures writhing in a bed, hardly qualifies as explicit. And reality television being what it is, the scene the tape depicts was quite possibly staged or fabricated.
Machado, whose emotional and psychological abuse at Trump’s hands has resurfaced to become the most recent scandal involving the candidate, has been a vocal critic of the Republican nominee, going so far as to earn her U.S. citizenship in order to vote against the man she claims called her “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping.”
Her treatment by Trump was raised by Hillary Clinton during the first presidential debate, and has since dominated headlines, fueled, in part, by Trump’s seeming inability to apologize and move on. In the days since Machado was name-checked by Clinton, Trump has doubled and tripled down on his criticism of Machado—body shaming her as “a real problem” for her “massive” weight gain during a recent appearance on Fox News.
Note: This post has been updated with further information about the provenance of the Machado sex tape rumors