As the controversy around lewd comments made in 2005 by Donald Trump continues to reverberate, a steady stream of new developments suggests that this scandal may have staying power past the 2016 election.
Trump has apologized for appearing to brag about sexual assault, although he has denied actually committing such acts. He has repeatedly called his crude language and offensive boasts "locker room talk" and the coverage of the tape a distraction from issues that matter.
Still, that hasn't stopped a number of conservatives — including media personality Glenn Beck and House Speaker Paul Ryan — from either abandoning or distancing themselves from his campaign. And in the last 24 hours, there has been even more fallout directly related to the 2005 audio recording.
Nancy O'Dell, the former "Access Hollywood" co-host who was the subject of some of Trump's remarks, spoke out publicly for the first time Monday on her current program "Entertainment Tonight" about the language he used at the time.
Although O'Dell did not address the specifics of what Trump described — he spoke about aggressively pursuing her while she was married and taking her to buy furniture — she told viewers:
“There is no room for objectification of women, or anyone for that matter, not even in the ‘locker room.’ The conversation has got to change because everybody deserves respect, no matter the gender or setting. And as a mom, I have to add that our kids, especially our young girls, need to know that their hard work, their achievements, their intelligence, their heart are most important, and those things will not go unnoticed.”
In a previous statement, O'Dell wrote, "Politics aside, I’m saddened that these comments still exist in our society at all."
Meanwhile, "The Daily Show" has resurfaced ironic footage of Trump firing a contestant on his "Celebrity Apprentice" reality show back in 2010 — precisely because she used "locker room" talk:
On the episode in question, WWR star Maria Kanellis brought up the fact that celebrity chef Curtis Stone "took a crap" in their shared dressing room. Trump, who infamously is skittish around talk of bodily functions, took offense.
“Isn’t it sort of gross to bringing that up? It’s like disgusting," Trump said. "This is my boardroom. It’s not a locker room. Maria, you’re fired.”
Speaking of "The Apprentice," there is now increasing pressure on producers of that show to reveal potentially incendiary footage and transcripts featuring Trump.
Chris Nee, a former producer of the show, has already claimed on Twitter that there are clips of the Republican presidential nominee saying "far worse" things — including the use of the N-word — than what he infamously said in 2005. However, leaking that footage could reportedly result in a $5 million fine for breach of a non-disclosure agreement.
Mark Burnett, the mega-producer behind the show, has insisted that he is not deliberately sitting on yet another "October surprise." BuzzFeed has quoted an anonymous source who alleged that Burnett is "pro-Trump" and will sue anyone who distributes any bombshell footage. MGM, the current owners of the show's rights, and Burnett released a joint statement to CNN's Brian Stelter addressing the issue:
"Despite reports to the contrary, Mark Burnett does not have the ability nor the right to release footage or other material from 'The Apprentice.' Various contractual and legal requirements also restrict MGM's ability to release such material. The recent claims that Mark Burnett has threatened anyone with litigation if they were to leak such material are completely and unequivocally false. To be clear, as previously reported by the press, which Mark Burnett has confirmed, he has consistently supported Democratic campaigns."
Still, there is currently a GoFundMe campaign — called the "Trump Sunlight Campaign" — attempting to raise the $5 million necessary to pay someone for a potential leak.
"Someone out there is likely in possession of a piece of evidence that could be used to substantiate what many folks have always believed; that the current nominee for president of the United States is not a moral leader for us all to look to over the next four years,” the page for the campaign reads.
And then there's Geraldo Rivera. The veteran talk show host claims that he too has "embarrassing" tapes of Trump culled from previous interviews they have sat down for over the years.
“He’s never used the P-word in front of me, I’ll say that,” Rivera said on Fox News "The Five Sunday". “But I never saw him come on to any of the beautiful women on the program.”
Despite widespread condemnation of Trump's 2005 comments, some prominent defenders of the GOP presidential nominee have emerged. Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, the first U.S. senator to back Trump and a rumored VP prospect, recently told The Weekly Standard that he wouldn't characterize Trump's description of grabbing a woman by the genitals without consent as sexual assault.
”I think that's a stretch. I don't know what he meant," Sessions said.
But according to Jodi Omear, vice president of Communications for RAINN (the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), there is no gray area here, whether Trump's comments were meant to be taken literally or not.
"Any language that condones sexual assault, no matter where it takes place, is not okay and minimizes the issues," she told NBC News in a statement. "Joking or bragging about sexual violence is offensive and unacceptable. RAINN saw a 33 percent increase in online hotline sessions this weekend over the previous weekend. This public support helps people know that sexual violence is not their fault, and they are not alone."