Democracy Dies in Darkness

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After failing to seduce Nancy O'Dell, Trump reportedly tried to have her fired

By Ellen McCarthy

October 8, 2016 at 4:37 PM

Television personality Nancy O’Dell arrives at the 11th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Exposition Center on Feb. 5, 2005, in Los Angeles. (Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images)

The woman who rejected Donald Trump's sexual advances — referred to as "Nancy" in an obscenity-laced video obtained by The Washington Post — has been identified as Nancy O'Dell, a television personality whom he reportedly tried subsequently to have fired as host of the Miss USA pageant.

In the 2005 video clip, the Republican presidential nominee recalled his failed attempts to seduce a married woman. "I moved on her, and I failed. I'll admit it," he said.

On Friday night, "Access Hollywood" reported that the woman who rebuffed Trump's advances was that show's former host, O'Dell. Trump's crass remarks were made to O'Dell's then co-anchor, Billy Bush, as the two men arrived for a cameo appearance by Trump on the soap opera "Days of Our Lives."

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In this video from 2005, Donald Trump prepares for an appearance on "Days of Our Lives" with actress Arianne Zucker. He is accompanied to the set by "Access Hollywood" host Billy Bush. The Post has edited this video for length. (Obtained by The Washington Post)

Two years later, Trump tried to have O'Dell fired as host of the Miss USA pageant, reportedly because she was pregnant, although the video suggests he may have had other motives, as well.

After the video was released, TMZ quickly revived its previous reporting about Trump's attempt to have O'Dell dismissed from the Miss Universe pageant in 2007. "A source tells TMZ that the enigmatic real estate developer wanted to drop O'Dell as host because he doesn't like the way pregnant women look," the site reported at the time.

O'Dell went on to host the pageant despite Trump's objections, TMZ wrote, because NBC executives had the final decision-making power.

O'Dell is a television veteran who got her start as a news reporter in South Carolina, where she grew up. She spent a decade as the host of "Access Hollywood" and is now the co-anchor of "Entertainment Tonight" on CBS. She can frequently be seen interviewing celebrities on the red carpet before major award shows.

In 2005, O'Dell married tech executive Keith Zubchevich. Two years later, she gave birth to a daughter.

O'Dell released this statement on Saturday: "Politics aside, I'm saddened that these comments still exist in our society at all. When I heard the comments yesterday, it was disappointing to hear such objectification of women. The conversation needs to change because no female, no person, should be the subject of such crass comments, whether or not cameras are rolling. Everyone deserves respect no matter the setting or gender. As a woman who has worked very hard to establish her career, and as a mom, I feel I must speak out with the hope that as a society we will always strive to be better."

Early Saturday morning, shortly after midnight, Trump released a short video apologizing for his remarks. He is slated to debate Hillary Clinton on Sunday evening.

O'Dell is scheduled to return to the air on Monday.

Ellen McCarthy is a feature writer for Style. She is the author of "The Real Thing: Lessons on Love and Life from a Wedding Reporter's Notebook."

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