WOODBURY - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is being accused of fat-shaming following a war of words between him and a former Miss Universe.
Alicia Machado, the 1996 Miss Universe, says Trump used names like Miss Housekeeping, Miss Piggy and Miss Eating Machine to destroy her self-esteem when he publicly shamed her for gaining weight.
Trump doubled-down on those comments this week, saying in one post-debate interview that she “gained a massive amount of weight and it was a real problem.” This morning, Trump called Machado disgusting in a tweet telling people to “check out her sex tape and past.”
Machado responded to the Republican candidate today, saying she would not be bullied or silenced.
Roni Benson, who works with young people and educators on anti-bullying programs, says Trump’s words are harmful, especially for young women and girls.
“There's a whole epidemic now of that kind of bullying, leading to depression, leading to suicide, it's very serious consequences,” says Benson.
Some Long Islanders and Trump supporters who spoke to News 12 Long Island did not take issue with Trump’s comments.
“I think all human beings have some time in their lives have said that, and we all say those things at the moment, but it doesn’t mean that you are disrespectful to people,” says Colette Santini, of Syosset.