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WTA Makes Major Misstep in New Ad Campaign Featuring Donald Trump

The “Strong is Beautiful” WTA ad campaign has always been mildly irritating for the implication that female tennis players’ best selling point was their physical attractiveness.

But the WTA took it one step further today, releasing an ad campaign that featured celebrities talking about women’s tennis, including well-known misogynist Donald Trump.

Here’s a refresher on Donald Trump’s views on women:

“In a column for the Washington Post, Anna Holmes brings up the ‘Trump Rule,’ as described by beauty queen Carrie Prejean, in her book about the Miss USA pageant. According to Prejean, the Miss USA pageant had a requirement that contestants parade in front of pageant owner Donald Trump so he could separate out those he found sexually appealing from those he did not.”

“‘Many of the girls found this exercise humiliating,’ Prejean wrote. ‘Some of the girls were sobbing backstage after [Trump] left, devastated to have failed even before the competition really began . . . even those of us who were among the chosen couldn’t feel very good about it — it was as though we had been stripped bare.'” [National Journal, 4/30/11]

“During one down period, I referred to him in print as a ‘financially embattled thousandaire’ and he sent me a copy of the column with my picture circled and ‘The Face of a Dog!’ written over it.” [Gail Collins for the New York Times, 4/1/11]

“Trump was accused of asking the men on “The Apprentice” to rate their female peers, based on appearance.” [National Journal, 4/30/11]

“Rosie O’Donnell is disgusting—both inside and out. If you take a look at her, she’s a slob. How does she even get on television? If I were running The View, I’d fire Rosie. I’d look her right in that fat, ugly face of hers and say, ‘Rosie, you’re fired.’ We’re all a little chubby but Rosie’s just worse than most of us. But it’s not the chubbiness—Rosie is a very unattractive person, both inside and out.” -Trump [Jezebel, 5/18/12]

“Mahsa Saeidi-Azcuy, a former Brooklyn assistant district attorney who was ‘fired’ from NBC’s business game show last Thursday … charged that Trump lavishes attention on the women contestants he finds attractive, makes sexist remarks, and asks the male contestants to rate the women.”

“‘So much of the boardroom discussion concerned the appearance of the female contestants — discussing the female contestants’ looks — who he found to be hot,’ Saeidi-Azcuy alleged. ‘He asked the men to rate the women — he went down the line and asked the guys, “Who’s the most beautiful on the women’s team?”‘” [New York Post, 11/2/10]

Is this man really someone who should be the WTA’s spokesperson? Featuring him in an ad with Billie Jean King is positively cringeworthy.

So here’s a word of advice to the WTA: focus on the tennis next time. We don’t need misogynist celebrities to sell women’s sports.

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