LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — After Miss Arizona 2001 claimed that then pageant owner Donald Trump barged in on contestants while they were in their dressing rooms, more former beauty queens came forward with similar stories.
Tasha Dixon’s story made international headlines after telling CBS2/KCAL9 Tuesday that the GOP presidential nominee put her and her then fellow contestants in a compromising position when “the owner come waltzing in when we were naked or half naked.”
Trump’s campaign manager refused to respond to the allegations. “I can’t comment on what’s she saying because I’m not her and I wasn’t in the pageant or any other pageant,” Kellyanne Conway told CNN Wednesday.
On the same day Dixon’s story went public, BuzzFeed reported a group of former Miss Teen USA contestants gave similar accounts.
Miss Teen Vermont 1997 Mariah Billado told the website: “I remember putting on my dress really quick because I was like: ‘Oh my God! There’s a man in here.'”
That year, Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, who was 15 at the time, co-hosted the Miss Teen USA pageant.
According to BuzzFeed, a former contestant said she complained to Ivanka that her dad came into the contestants’ dressing room unannounced, but she dismissed the complaint as something her dad typically did.
Miss Florida 2003 Carrie Mantha told CBS2/KCAL9 that while Trump never walked into her dressing room, she felt his behavior was far from appropriate. Mantha said she often felt uncomfortable in his presence.
In a statement, she said the pageant itself was well run, but “the low point, however was meeting Donald Trump after the pageant, where he treated the contestants like trophies to show off to his celebrity guests. His juvenile bragging about inappropriate behavior…does a disservice to the incredible women who competed at Miss USA.”
Ironically, Billy Bush was the co-host of the pageant that year. The former “Access Hollywood” anchor was heard engaging in a conversation with Trump when the businessman made lewd comments about women on an audio recording. As a result, NBC suspended Bush from the network’s “Today” show.
The Trump campaign released a statement which reads in part: “these accusations have no merit and have already been disproven by many other individuals who were present.”
Several other former pageant contestants disputed the claims on BuzzFeed, saying there was too much security and too many chaperones for these incidents to have happened.
Also on Wednesday, two women told The New York Times that Trump inappropriately touched them.
CBS2/KCAL9’s political reporter Dave Bryan takes a look at an interview The Times posted online of Jessica Leeds talking about an incident with the GOP presidential nominee 35 years ago.