E. Jean Carroll was never going to give up holding Trump to account

E. Jean Carroll: The charismatic advice columnist who held Donald Trump to account was never going to give up

  • Today a jury found that Donald Trump sexually abused E. Jean Carroll  

She’s the woman who has achieved what many thought unachievable – held Donald Trump to account.

But those who have followed the illustrious career of one of New York’s most charismatic writers will know that you underestimate E Jean Carroll at your peril.

Born Betty Jean Carroll in Detroit, Michigan, in 1943, the oldest of four children, by the time she left Indiana University, she had already made her mark winning Miss Cheerleader USA and meeting President Lyndon B Johnson.

After graduating from college, she got her breakthrough by landing her first published article in Esquire, a ‘witty literary quiz she concocted’ about Ernest Hemingway and F Scott Fitzgerald.

As proof of her determination to succeed as a writer, she once admitted in an interview that she sent pitches to magazines when she was just 12 years old. Landing in New York in the late 1980s she was one of the first cohort of women to really make their mark in American publishing, blazing a trail through the New York magazine industry.

Today a jury found that Donald Trump sexually abused E. Jean Carroll (pictured today in New York following the verdict) in 1996, awarding her $5 million in a judgement

During one awkward moment of his videotaped deposition, Trump failed to identify Carroll in an image, then confused her with his former wife Marla Maples.  (Former wife Ivana Trump is pictured at the right)

READ MORE: Furious Trump says E. Jean Carroll sexual abuse verdict is a ‘disgrace’ – and is a ‘continuation of the greatest witch hunt of all time’ in all-caps Truth Social post

Her riotous interviews for Rolling Stone and Esquire, not to mention her accolade as the first female contributing editor to Playboy Magazine, led New York Times to describe her as ‘feminism’s answer to Hunter S Thompson’.

But it was as an agony aunt that she really made her name, shaking up the traditional advice with her forthright ‘Ask E Jean’ advice column in Elle Magazine.

In her 2019 book What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal, she talks about how one issue lies behind all the problems that drive women crazy – careers, wardrobes, children, finances – and that is men.

Her solution to the issues of those who wrote in to her column: ‘I start shouting and yelling and cheering at the correspondent to pick herself up and go on.’ This attitude chimed with women of her generation and the column ran for 26 years.

Journalism was, however, only one of her pursuits. She wrote for NBC’s hit show, Saturday Night Live in the 1980s and hosted her own TV show, Ask E. Jean, which ran from 1994 – 1996. It was during this time that she met Trump – ‘one of New York’s most famous men at the time’ – coming out of Bergdorf Goodman department store; the same evening he sexually assaulted her.

Twice divorced, with no children from either marriage, she wrote poignantly in her book that after the assault, ‘she never had sex with anybody ever again.’

In 2002, Ms Carroll co-founded a dating website called Greatboyfriends.com, where women recommended their exes. She left her Elle column in 2019, blaming her dispute with Trump, whi

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