Tourists to the nation's capitol today will be in for a treat as they stroll down Constitution Avenue near the White House. On Friday, Oct. 6, a women's rights group is playing a 12-hour loop of the Access Hollywood tape that made its way into headline news one year ago. The video, on which President Donald Trump can be heard making vulgar references to women, was a sticking point in the 2016 election.
The screening is part of a larger demonstration by the group UltraViolet, which together with other advocacy groups will host a "Rally to Grab Back" in Lafayette Square at noon ET. As to the motivation for the demonstration, UltraViolet co-founder Shannon Thomas says in a statement,
The Access Hollywood video was a disgusting display of Trump’s true colors. It was not so-called ‘locker room talk,’ it was a man bragging about sexually assaulting women. [...] The Donald Trump on that tape is the same Donald Trump that sits in the Oval Office every day, aggressively pursuing an anti-woman agenda, including the active dismantling of legal protections for survivors of sexual assault. That is why we are showing the video on loop in DC, and that is why it is all the more important that we stand up and ‘grab back.
Per the organization,
The video also reminds viewers that someone is sexually assaulted in the United States every 98 seconds, while calling on Americans to join the fight against rape culture and resist the Trump Administration.
The video heard 'round the world is from a 2005 clip from Access Hollywood. The Washington Post initially published the video and an accompanying article on Oct. 8, 2016.
In the video, Trump and fellow TV personality Billy Bush can be heard conversing on a tour bus off-camera. Trump describes a failed attempt to bed down an unnamed married woman. He goes on,
I’ve got to use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her. You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. [...] And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. [...] Grab them by the p---y. You can do anything.
Both Trump and Bush later apologized for the content of the tape. Trump chalked up his behavior to "locker-room banter" less egregious than Bill Clinton's behavior, and deemphasized the episode, saying that the story shouldn't be a focus for people.
But the damage was clearly done. Among with numerous others, Planned Parenthood Action Fund in a statement said the actions Trump described amounted to sexual assault.
UltraViolet describes itself as an online community of both men and women whose aim is to expose and combat sexism and assaults on women's rights, whether in the world of politics or pop culture.
Even if it didn't cost him the election, the footage sure cost Trump respect. The tape's release prompted numerous members of his own party to speak out against him, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, who said he was "sickened" by the president's speech.
It also aided a groundswell of movement for women's rights and anti-sexism campaigns, the Women's March being one of them. The phrase "pussy grabs back" became a buzz term for everything from memes to merchandise to art exhibits.
Following the tape's release, numerous women also came forward with experiences of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior by the president over the decades, including reporters. Aside from denying the veracity of many allegations, the president also threatened to sue the New York Times for its reporting.
Friday's demonstration also comes just after it was reported that Trump's healthcare directive would further jeopardize the reproductive health of millions of 62 million women.
Friday marks one year since the tape's going public — and viral.