LSE Media Policy Project public lecture
Date: Thursday 19 May 2016
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building
Speaker: Oscar H Gandy Jr
Respondent: Professor Louise Amoore
Chair: Dr Seeta Pe a Gangadharan
The increasingly precise segmentation and targeting of commercial messages has been enabled in large part through the analysis of massive amounts of transaction-generated-information. Although some attention has been paid to the use of these privacy invasive strategies within the public sphere, the use of personal data with regard to the formation, implementation and evaluation of public policies at the local, national and regional levels has largely been ignored. After discussing threats of political profiling to the future of public participation in the democratic process, Oscar Gandy will explore some possibilities for managing the nature, extent and distribution of these and associated societal harms.
Oscar H Gandy Jr is a media scholar and Emeritus Professor at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania.
She has particular interests in how contemporary forms of data, analytics and risk management are changing the techniques of border control and security. Louise has been awarded a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship (2016-18) for work on the Ethics of Algorithm.
Seeta Pe a Gangadharan is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Media and Communications at LSE.
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A copy of Oscar H Gandy Jr’s powerpoint presentation is available to download. Download ‘Surveillance and the Public Sphere: confronting a democratic dilemma’3 (pdf).
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The architect and I didn t know where he was coming from, Ms. Res said. Years later, after she had gained a significant amount of weight, Ms.
Res endured a stinging workplace observation about her own body from Mr. Trump. You like your candy, she recalled him telling her. It was him reminding me that I was overweight.
Her colleague Louise Sunshine experienced similar observations from Mr. Trump when she gained weight. But she saw it as friendly encouragement, not a cruel insult. He thought I looked much better thin, she said. He would remind me of how beautiful I was.
Whenever possible, Mr. Trump wanted his visitors to see his most attractive employees, as Ms.
Res learned. We had a big meeting once. I grabbed one of the women in the office and sent her in to get lunch orders. Donald said, Not her. She didn t look great. He got another woman to take the lunch orders. That was purely about looks. He wanted the people in that room to think that all the women who worked for him were beautiful.
Mr. Trump frequently sought assurances at times from strangers that the women in his life were beautiful.
During the 1997 Miss Teen USA pageant, he sat in the audience as his teenage daughter, Ivanka, helped to host the event from onstage. He turned to Brook Antoinette Mahealani Lee, Miss Universe at the time, and asked for her opinion of his daughter s body.
Don t you think my daughter s hot? She s hot, right? Ms. Lee recalled him saying. I was like, Really? That s just weird. She was 16. That s creepy.
Brewer Lane, who dated Mr. Trump for several months in 1990 and early 1991, said it did not take long for him to solicit her view on the attractiveness of two of his previous romantic partners, Marla Maples and Ivana Trump. He did ask me, on a scale of 1 to 10, what I thought of Marla. I thought that was very boyish of him. He asked me the same thing about Ivana. I said, obviously, she is your wife. A beautiful woman. What could you say but a 10? I am not going to judge your wife.
Ms. Brewer Lane
Trump said he did not know Ms. Brewer Lane very well, despite dating her. I wouldn t have asked anybody about how they rate other women, he said.
Kissing, and Telling Everyone
He liked to brag about his sexual prowess and his desirability as a date, no matter who was around.
Barbara J. Fife, a deputy mayor under David N. Dinkins, New York s mayor in the early 1990s, was not especially close to Mr. Trump. But that did not stop him from telling her why he was in such a hurry one day as he sat in her office at City Hall.
I have this great date tonight with a model for Victoria s Secret, Ms. Fife recalled him telling her.
I saw it as immature, quite honestly, she said.
At his office in Trump Tower, Mr. Trump seemed eager for his colleagues to hear about his new companion, Ms.
Maples. When The New York Post feasted on her supposed satisfaction with him in bed, captured in the headline Best Sex I ve Ever Had, Mr. Trump was unabashed, Ms. Res said. He absolutely loved that. He waved it around the office. Did you see this? Everyone who worked there were kind of horrified. We all thought it made him look bad.
He didn t.
Mr. Trump denies boasting about the headline. He seems more bashful these days, saying he cannot recall how many women he has dated. Not as many as people would think, he said. I m not somebody that really loved the dating process.
Women as Trusted Colleagues
To build his business, Mr. Trump turned to women for a simple reason: They worked hard often harder than men, he told them.
When Mr. Trump hired Ms. Res to oversee the construction of Trump Tower, he invited her to his apartment on Fifth Avenue and explained that he wanted her to be his Donna Trump on the project, she said.
Few women had reached such stature in the industry.
Photo Ms. Res and Mr. Trump in 1989. Credit via Barbara A. Res
He said: I know you re a woman in a man s world. And while men tend to be better than women, a good woman is better than 10 good men. He thought he was really complimenting me.
He entrusted several women in his company with enormous responsibility once they had proven themselves worthy and loyal. Ms. Sunshine had little experience in real estate, but as a top campaign fund-raiser for Gov. Hugh Carey of New York, she had fulfilled a lifelong wish for Mr. Trump: She secured him a vanity license plate with his initials, DJT, which adorned his limousine for years.
It s something he had wanted since his father bought him toy cars. By some gift of God, I was able to obtain it for him. He was beyond thrilled. And I became the woman in his life who could do no wrong. And he became the man in my life who was going to be my mentor.
Louise Sunshine, former Trump executive
Ms. Sunshine worked for Mr. Trump for 15 years, becoming a major New York real estate figure in her own right. Ms. Res remained at the company for 12 years, left after a disagreement over a project and then returned as a consultant for six more years.
Both expressed gratitude for the chances Mr. Trump had taken on them.
In a rough-and-tumble industry thoroughly dominated by men, Mr. Trump s office stood out for its diversity, recalled Alan Lapidus, an influential architect who designed the Trump Plaza casino in Atlantic City. He is a lot more complicated than the cartoon character. The top people in his company were women, like Barbara Res. For any company to hire a woman as chief of construction was actually startling. I don t know of a single other developer who had a woman in that position. The respect for women was always there. That s why, in spite of the comments he makes now and God knows why he says these things when he was building his empire, the backbone was women.
Alan Lapidus, architect
To women who had climbed to positions of power outside his company, Mr.
Trump s behavior could feel like a jarring throwback.
Alair A. Townsend was for a time the highest-ranking woman inside New York s City Hall during the Koch administration, with the title of deputy mayor for economic development. But when Mr. Trump called her, she said, her position seemed less relevant to him than her gender. He was dismissive. It was always, Hon, Dear. Things he wouldn t have said to a man. It was designed to make you feel small. And he did that repeatedly.
Alair A. Townsend, former deputy mayor
It was an unthinking habit when he interacted with women, colleagues said. At Trump Tower, said Ms.
Res, his longtime colleague, he called me Honey Bunch.
Wife and Partner, and Regret
No single figure better encapsulated the paradoxes of Mr. Trump s treatment of women in the workplace than his first wife, Ivana.
He entrusted her with major pieces of a corporate empire and gave her the titles to match. She was the president of Trump s Castle, a major casino in Atlantic City, and the Plaza Hotel, the storied complex on Central Park South in Manhattan. She ran that hotel, Ms. Res said. And she ran it well.
Photo Ivana Trump with Mr. Trump. Credit Bob Sacha/Corbis, via Getty Images
But he compensated her as a spouse, not a high-level employee, paying her an annual salary of $1 for the Trump s Castle job, according to her tax documents. And he grew to resent her outsize role. By the end of their marriage, Mr.
Trump wrote in his 1997 book, The Art of the Comeback, he regretted having allowed her to run his businesses. My big mistake with Ivana was taking her out of the role of wife and allowing her to run one of my casinos in Atlantic City, then the Plaza Hotel. The problem was, work was all she wanted to talk about. When I got home at night, rather than talking about the softer subjects of life, she wanted to tell me how well the Plaza was doing, or what a great day the casino had. I will never again give a wife responsibility within my business.
Donald J. Trump, presumptive Republican nominee
He seems to have kept his word. His current wife, Melania, has marketed her own lines of beauty products and jewelry. But Mr. Trump remains mostly uninvolved in her work.
After calling it very successful, he struggled to describe it.
What is it on television with the sales? he asked. What do they call that? Not Home Shopping, the other one.
Accusations and Denials
Once his first marriage started to collapse, Mr. Trump faced his most serious allegations of aggression toward women.
When Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump, by the journalist Harry Hurt III, was released in 1993, it included a description of a night in which Mr. Trump was said to have raped Ivana in a fit of rage. It also included a statement from Ivana that Mr. Trump s lawyers insisted be placed in the front of the book.
In the statement, she described an occasion of marital relations during which I felt violated, as the love and tenderness, which he normally exhibited toward me, was absent.
During a deposition given by me in connection with my matrimonial case, I stated that my husband had raped me, the statement said. I referred to this as a rape, but I do not want my words to be interpreted in a literal or criminal sense.
Mr. Trump denied raping Ivana, and she did not respond to a request for comment. After the allegation re-emerged in the news media last year, Ivana said in a statement1, The story is totally without merit.
In the early 1990s, Jill Harth and her boyfriend at the time, George Houraney, worked with Mr. Trump on a beauty pageant in Atlantic City, and later accused Mr. Trump of inappropriate behavior toward Ms. Harth during their business dealings. In a 1996 deposition, Ms. Harth described their initial meeting with Mr.
Trump at Trump Tower. Donald Trump stared at me throughout that meeting. He stared at me even while George was giving his presentation. In the middle of it he says to George, Are you sleeping with her? Meaning me. And George looked a little shocked and he said, Well, yeah. And he goes, Well, for the weekend or what?
Jill Harth, former pageant promoter
Mr. Houraney said in a recent interview that he was shocked by Mr. Trump s response after he made clear that he and Ms. Harth were monogamous.
He said: Well, there s always a first time.
I am going after her, Mr. Houraney recalled, adding: I thought the man was joking. I laughed. He said, I am serious.
By the time the three of them were having dinner at the Oak Room of the Plaza Hotel the next night, Mr. Trump s advances had turned physical, Ms. Harth said in the deposition.
Basically he name-dropped throughout that dinner, when he wasn t groping me under the table, she testified. Let me just say, this was a very traumatic thing working for him.
Ms. Harth, who declined to comment, gave the deposition in connection with a lawsuit that alleged Mr. Trump had failed to meet his obligations in a business partnership.
Mr. Trump settled that case but denied wrongdoing. Ms. Harth withdrew her own lawsuit against Mr. Trump alleging unwanted advances, but she has stood by her original claims.
Mr. Trump said it was Ms. Harth who had pursued him, and his office shared email messages in which Ms. Harth, over the past year, thanked Mr. Trump for helping her personally and professionally and expressed support for his presidential candidacy.
Defending His Record
Trump says the world misunderstands his relationship with women.
He sees himself as a promoter of women a man whose business deals, like the purchase of the struggling Miss Universe pageant, have given them untold opportunities for employment and advancement. Hundreds and hundreds of women, thousands of women, are the better for it, he said.
He has groomed his daughter, Ivanka, to run his company. And as a chief executive, he said, he admires women for a work ethic that can exceed that of the men around them. Mr. Trump recalled a telling exchange with a female worker. I ve said, Why don t you go home and take it easy now, just go relax. No, Mr. Trump, I have to finish this job. And I said, Boy, you really are a worker.
And it would just seem that there was something, that they want to really prove something, which is wonderful.
Several women who have held positions of power within the Trump Organization in recent years said they had never known Mr. Trump to objectify women or treat them with disrespect.
I think there are mischaracterizations about him, said Jill Martin, a vice president and assistant counsel at the company. Ms. Martin said Mr. Trump had enthusiastically supported her decision to have two children over the past five years, even when it meant working from home and scaling back on business travel.
That s hard with women lawyers, she said. For me, he s made it a situation where I can really excel at my job and still devote the time necessary for my family.
After competing in the 2009 Miss USA pageant, Laura Kirilova Chukanov, a Bulgarian immigrant who lived in Utah, met with Mr. Trump in his New York office and explained that she wanted to make a documentary about her home country. Mr.
Trump encouraged the project and followed through on a promise to put her in touch with his production company.
He genuinely wanted to know what I wanted to do with my life and how he could help, Ms. Chukanov said.
A Damaging Critique
But when Mr. Trump lost confidence in women, he could inflict lasting damage on their lives.
After Alicia Machado won the 1996 Miss Universe title, something very human happened: She gained weight. Mr. Trump did not keep his critique of her changing body quiet he publicly shamed her, she said.