No, Donald Trump, Being A Celebrity Doesn't Make Sexual Harassment Acceptable

Truth be told, I didn't think the Republican nominee could get much worse for women. Boy, was I wrong. A video obtained by the Washington Post shows Donald Trump uttering his most disturbing comments about women yet. In a 2005 conversation with Billy Bush, Trump recounts a failed attempt to have sex with an unidentified woman and describes how he can essentially sexually assault women without recourse because, you know, he's a star.

The video, of which Bustle has a transcript, was reportedly captured when Trump was wearing a hot microphone just prior to filming a segment with Access Hollywood about his cameo on the soap opera Days of Our Lives. In it, Trump describes what he considers to be the perks of being a celebrity: getting to touch and kiss women whether they want him to or not.

Here's what Trump had to say after spotting Days of Our Lives actress Arianne Zucker, who was on hand to escort Trump and Bush to the set for filming:

I've gotta 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.

Let's be clear: What Trump is describing is sexual assault, even if he doesn't see it that way.

The Rape, Abuse, And Incest National Network (RAINN) defines sexual assault as a "crime of power and control" in which sexual contact or behavior occurs without the victim's explicit consent. In his comments to Bush, Trump is promoting exactly that — using his celebrity status to bully, coerce, or intimidate women into sexual acts.

This isn't "locker room banter." This isn't even just lewd comments about women. This is a presidential candidate talking about his urge to sexually assault a woman, and justifying it as something totally OK because he's "a star."

Except, celebrities are in no way entitled to a free pass when it comes to incidents of sexual assault. No amount of stardom or money gives a person free rein over women's bodies. Whether or not he's joking or yukking it up for the boys, Trump's suggestion that being a celebrity excuses him from having to obtain consent whether he wants to kiss a woman or grab her by her genitals is no laughing matter. Boasting or joking about sexual assault is a crude attempt to normalize sexual violence against women and is the epitome of rape culture.

Yet, there's another reason why Trump's comments are so worrying: It perfectly mirrors harassment and assault claims that have been brought against him in the past — all of which he's dismissed.