Tonight on 60 Minutes, Anderson Cooper asked Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels, “How do we know you’re telling the truth?” The speech of sex workers is under unprecedented scrutiny in American politics right now. Clifford replied, “‘Cause I have no reason to lie. I’m opening myself up for, you know, possible danger and definitely a whole lot of shit.”
Later in the interview, Cooper also quoted adult performer Jenna Jameson, who said the following about Clifford’s predicament: “The left looks at her as a whore and just uses her to try to discredit the president. The right looks at her like a treacherous rat. It’s a lose-lose. Should’ve kept her trap shut.” Clifford replied, “I think that she has a lotta wisdom in those words.”
The credibility of Clifford’s voice is perhaps the most crucial element of this whole affair—helping voters decide whether, first, she had an affair with Trump and, second, whether she is speaking up, as she claims, to set the record straight. Meanwhile, to hear Jenna Jameson cited as a person with insight into the nexus between sex and politics is a remarkable event. But the question remains: Has America changed enough to take sex workers’ voices seriously?
As the activist movement against Congress’s SESTA/FOSTA bill continues to swell among America’s sex workers, who claim that this ostensible anti–sex trafficking bill will endanger their livelihoods and lives, that question is being litigated in real-time. Clifford’s confident performance on 60 Minutes is a part of that process. She did the job well.