“Social media cannot hurt you”: Stormy Daniels at the Oxford Union

Adult film star Stormy Daniels was hosted for the second time at the Oxford Union. Daniels appeared in the public sphere after claiming that she received “hush money” before the 2016 election after her affair with then-presidential candidate and businessman Donald Trump.

Daniels’ address was highly compelling, if unconventional. At one point, she apologised for frequent profanity, stating that “the F word is one of my favourite words”.

Daniels described the impact that her revelations had on her social media profiles, describing: “I can’t tell you how many times I laid on the floor and wanted to die” after being “attacked in the press” and by “trolls and bots”. She detailed being called a “liar, slut, golddigger, whore… but none of that matters to me, because I do porn”. 

Daniels’ address focused on ignoring abuse on social media, as she urged the audience to understand that “the internet is not real, and social media cannot hurt you”. 

She wished for “serious, authentic conversations”, encouraging the audience “don’t be afraid to ask me anything, but don’t ask something you don’t want the answer to”. 

Her address also discussed hypocrisy on social media, describing a “social experiment” where “I can put up a tweet that is positive… or something neutral that has no effect on anybody, and it will get a very small number of comments or retweets. If I put up something negative, it explodes.” 

She also described an atmosphere of toxicity, arguing “we’re all guilty of this negativity […] we like scandal, we like salaciousness, we like gossip”. She encouraged the audience to “do your due diligence” and “keep an open mind”. 

Her experiences echoed those of another former adult performer, Mia Khalifa, who also spoke at the Union this term. Khalifa described intense social media backlash, and advised that the adult industry “should never be a first option”.

Trump’s alleged role in the affair was also addressed, with Daniels saying that she did not agree with the incident being branded an affair because “I would not consider 90 seconds of the worst part of my life an affair”. She also described how “[Trump’s] penis… was very unimpressive then, and it still is”. 

Daniels stated that the NDA she signed after the alleged affair was “signed with a false name… I signed it in a panic, and then immediately went on TV and said ‘this is what happened’.

Asked if she regretted signing the NDA, she said “in some parts no… but another part of me says fuck yes, I regret signing it, it would have saved me $600,000 and a lot of angry tweets”.

E Jean Carroll’s recent triumph in civil court was also discussed, after a jury found that Donald Trump sexually assaulted her in a department store changing room in the 1990s. Daniels stated that “I have no personal knowledge of that situation, but I’m thrilled for her”. 

She described her shock when Carroll was asked why she did not scream, “because I didn’t scream, it didn’t even register for me to do so”.

However, Stormy Daniels also expressed her belief that the $5 million settlement Carroll received was not granted to her “because I do porn”, stating that “[Carroll] had a respectable job, so he must owe her $5 million”. 

Daniels argued that Trump’s social media abuse stemmed from “a sense of entitlement… grab enough women by the pussy and you’re going to start grabbing two at a time”.

In the Q&A section, the actress and director was asked if she hesitated to comment about Trump’s sexual performance. She said  “it used to make me uncomfortable body-shaming Trump, but I did not do that until he did it to me first”.

She described feeling like she needed to include details of the encounter, especially because of his lack of distinguishing features like “a big Texas-shaped birthmark on his back”. Daniels added that “I wish I had anything else to prove that I saw him naked, apart from his penis“.

Daniels also stated “we all know that if I was lying and he had a massive endowment, he would have dropped his pants and showed it to us all”. 

Union president Matthew Dick asked Daniels about the power dynamics of the alleged affair. She responded that “it was consensual” and “I didn’t say no”. However, Trump “baited” her, and “physically intimidated me by putting himself in between me and the door”.

Daniels also expressed her “hope that he is found guilty of the things he is guilty of, so I hope his spray tan can match his outfit”. 

Daniels is expected in court in March of next year for a criminal trial. It will determine if Trump arranged for his lawyer Michael Cohen to pay her “hush money” to remain silent about their alleged affair.

Image credit: Victoria Pickering

Image description: Stormy Daniels holding a microphone