Opening locked doors: Demystifying Donald Trump’s ‘locker room talk’

Since The Washington Post released a tape of Donald Trump on Billy Bush’s show Oct. 8, it has gained traction across the globe, with many critiquing Trump’s words.

The 2005 video included Trump saying, “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the p*ssy; you can do anything.”

The video caused a wave of reactions. Bush was fired from his job as a morning host of NBC’s “TODAY Show,” and Trump apologized via Facebook video, saying, “I’ve said and done things I regret, and the words released today on this more than a decade-old video are one of them.”

Several celebrities, students and athletes across the country have offered their opinions about the issue, and The Scout has gathered some of that commentary.

Bradley response

According to psychology professor Wendy Schweigert, “locker room talk” is a metaphor, meaning “vulgar, often sexual talk that isn’t necessarily meant to be taken seriously.”

“The problem is that one can’t tell whether a piece of ‘locker room talk’ is true or false,” Schweigert said. “So just because someone says, ‘It’s just locker room talk’ … that doesn’t mean it is necessarily untrue, and it doesn’t mean people who weren’t the original audience … won’t be offended.”

Sociology professor Jackie Hogan said in Trump’s case, there is no excuse for violating the dignity of another person.

“Even if [Trump] did not actually commit such acts – and mounting evidence suggests he did – bragging about routinely sexually assaulting women demonstrates a deep disrespect for women,” Hogan said.

When contacted via email, Assistant Director of Athletic Communications Jason Veniskey said the Athletics Department has “decided that this is a topic that [they] don’t want [their] student-athletes getting in the middle of.”

“We thought the topic of ‘locker room talk’ was more of an issue of a locker room at a country club, men’s club or at a local gym more than it pertained to being in a locker room of a college sports program,” Veniskey said in the email.

Justin Haller, a senior mechanical engineering major, said he played sports throughout high school and continues to at Markin Recreational Center, giving him a first-hand account of what occurs in locker rooms.

“‘Locker room talk’ is stuff that’s not socially acceptable in every day talk – Definitely not something you’d talk about with someone you just met,” Haller said. “I think that locker room talk can be something like [Trump] said, but his was a little extreme to be considered locker room talk.”

Some Bradley students took to social media to talk about the issue:

Senior English major Nora Trapp (@noratrappqueen) tweeted, “A WOMAN’s reply to Trump’s leaked tape was ‘Guy talk is guy talk. I’d rather have him than a lying menopausal woman.’ ???”

Peyton McDermott, a 2016 alumnus, (@Peyton_McD) tweeted, “I tended to talk about Yu-Gi-Oh in the locker room, but, hey, same thing as what Trump said. #debate2016.”

Senior political science major Olga Krapivner (@OlgaKrapivner) tweeted, “Take a drink everyone time you hear ‘locker room talk’ #election2016drinkinggame.”

Celebrity response

Celebrities with varying stances have been using social media to add their opinions on the locker room talk topic, as well.

Actress Anna Kendrick tweeted, “Doubling down on ‘locker room talk’?! Like all men do this?! Trump’s words are an attack on women, this pathetic excuse is an attack on men.”

On the other hand, actor Jon Voight issued several tweets, including, “I don’t know of too many men who haven’t expressed some sort of similar sexual terms toward women, especially in their younger years, cont’d.”

The discussion didn’t end on Twitter. Radio personality Howard Stern, who is known for speaking crudely during his show, spoke out against Trump’s definition of locker room talk on his Sirius XM show.

“A lot of the show that I’ve been doing for my entire life, radio show publicly, is an effort to sort of do ‘locker room talk,’ to express all kinds of sh*t and just not even care what anyone thinks,” Stern said in a segment. “But this idea of ‘locker room talk’ … All the times I’ve been around guys – and believe me, when I’m around guys, 85 percent of the times you’re talking about p*ssy – but I have never been in the room when someone has said, ‘Grab them by the p*ssy.’”

Professional athlete response

The demographic that spends a lot of time in locker rooms – professional athletes – also spoke out.

Professional basketball player LeBron James commented on what locker room talk means to him, while slamming Trump for using “locker room talk” as a defense.

“But what [Trump] was saying, that’s not, I don’t know what that is,” James said in an interview with CNBC. “That’s trash talk.”

On the other hand, professional basketball player Charles Barkley said while he does not condone sexual assault, lewd discussions in locker rooms do occur.

“In the locker room, I’ve heard things and I’ve said things myself that I would not want to be repeated publicly,” Mr. Barkley said in an interview on CNN. “For people to act like they haven’t heard stuff in the locker room I think is disingenuous.”

Other athletes, like football player Tom Brady, have declined to respond to questions about the controversy.

On page A6, read editorial for how Trump’s words have bigger implications than in the political sphere.

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