Multiple web sites have issued retractions after publishing a story reporting that Melania Trump, wife of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, had once worked as a call girl before becoming a professional model. Mrs. Trump has reportedly threatened to sue those publications.
At least two web sites, Inquisitr and Bipartisan Report, have retracted their stories and issued apologies to the former Slovenian model. Others, including Drudge Report, pulled the story down, while Liberal America redacted most of the story and added the headline, “This is what the news will look like under Pres. Donald Trump and his illustrious Third Lady Melania Trump.” On 22 August 2016, Mrs. Trump issued a statement to Politico through her attorney, Charles Harder, that she is filing a lawsuit against the Daily Mail and other unnamed publications.
Harder hasn’t yet responded to our request for further comment, but he told Politico in a statement:
Mrs. Trump has placed several news organizations on notice of her legal claims against them, including Daily Mail among others, for making false and defamatory statements about her supposedly having been an “escort” in the 1990s. All such statements are 100% false, highly damaging to her reputation, and personally hurtful. She understands that news media have certain leeway in a presidential campaign, but outright lying about her in this way exceeds all bounds of appropriate news reporting and human decency.
The claims originated with a Daily Mail story published 19 August 2016, which in turn cited a Slovenian-language gossip tabloid called Suzy. The Daily Mail stated Suzy ran a front-page story saying that when Mrs. Trump worked for New York fashion entrepreneur Paolo Zampolli after initially arriving in the United States, she moonlighted for his modeling agency as an escort.
The Daily Mail also reported that Zampolli, in no uncertain terms, denied that his modeling agency ever operated as an escort service. The claim, he said, was “f*cking rubbish.” The Daily Mail further acknowledged there was “no evidence to back up these startling claims made in Suzy magazine.”