A video that purports to show a homeless black woman saying that President-elect Donald Trump allowed her to stay eight years at his hotel rent-free has gone viral online. But BuzzFeed News reported that a Trump Hotel spokesperson has confirmed that the video is a hoax.
“There is no validity to the video,” Jennifer Rodstrom, Trump Hotels spokesperson, told BuzzFeed News on Friday. “The woman depicted is not our guest.”
The video, titled “Squatter in Trump Towers NYC,” was first uploaded to YouTube on July 15 by user Lee Bob. It was the only video uploaded to the user’s YouTube channel.
The German anti-Islam website OnlineMagazine tweeted the video on Thursday, December 8, but it went viral after Alex Jones’ Infowars featured it on Thursday, December 8, 2016.
“This doesn’t fit with the media’s portrayal of Trump as a racist bigot,” Infowars commented.
Thousands of Trump supporters shared the video gladly as evidence that Trump was not “racist” or “bigoted,” as his detractors claimed.
“NYC homeless woman claims to live in Trump Tower for free and Donald Trump knows about it and does nothing but send her meals and flowers.”
The video shows an African-American woman dressed in pajamas, standing in front of a window in a building that appears to overlook Central Park in New York. The woman does not identify herself by name, but she claims to be a homeless person and that she sneaked into the building and occupied one of the empty rooms as a squatter years ago.
She claims that with Trump’s knowledge and approval, she has lived for eight years in the room in Trump Tower, rent free.
“I came in here about nine years ago and snuck in the building and just started occupying one of the empty rooms in here. By the time a housekeeper noticed I was here the next day, she called the manager and they called the New York City Police, who came up here and told me I had to leave or I would be arrested.”
“When I told them I would not go, they contacted Mr Trump over the phone and he came down here,” the woman continues. “Instead of evicting me off the property, he said that I can stay and it’s been eight years I’ve been here.”
“Not only did he not evict me off the property, he made sure that I ate three meals a day by room service, and that I get a delivery of fresh flowers every week,” she adds.
The woman then defends Trump against accusations that he is a “racist,” a “bigot” and a “bad guy.”
“If it weren’t for him I’d be homeless — I’d be dead right now, I’d be in the street. Donald Trump is not a bad guy.”
“I asked them how I am going to pay him back for all this, and he told me I could pay him back whenever I get, which is never, “she says.
The observation that the building appears to overlook Central Park suggests that the woman was inside a room in Trump International Hotel and Tower, BuzzFeed noted. But the website points out that Trump International Hotel and Tower at Central Park West near W. 60th Street, is a different building than Trump Tower located at E. 56th Street and Fifth Avenue, two blocks away from Central Park.
Snopes also noted that the video does not show the woman’s room to give proof that she was actually inside a room at Trump International Hotel and Tower. According to the online fact checker, the video could easily have been taken in a publicly accessible area of the building or at a nearby building, such as the Time Warner Center, which also offers a view of Central Park.
But the website acknowledged that it seemed likely that the video was actually taken from Trump’s hotel in New York.
A BuzzFeed reporter spoke to several people, including guests and employees, at Trump International Hotel and Tower and showed them a screenshot image of the woman and not one person recognized her.
Some were certain that they would have known or noticed the woman if she actually lived in the hotel.
One resident at the hotel confirmed to BuzzFeed that based on the view from the window, the video was taken in a room in the hotel section of the building.
However, Snopes acknowledged that although it is clear that the video is a hoax, Trump is known to have allowed guests to stay at his hotels rent free.
[Featured Image by Andriy Blokin/Shutterstock]