There it is, the US hundred dollar bill, the Franklin, the largest bill currently in circulation. It features the visage of America's highly revered Ben Franklin. One of America's legendary 'founding fathers,' Franklin was a true polymath, a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, humorist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat.
What could a man so massively accomplished as Franklin have to do with Donald Trump? That dawned on me in reading a report in Britain's Financial Times about a debauched, black-tie fundraising event, the President's Club charity dinner. Silly, but rich, old farts in tuxedos and a bevy of sexy young 'hostesses' in short black dresses. What could possibly come from that?
Only this year among those hostesses were two reporters from the Financial Times.
It is for men only. A black tie evening, Thursday’s event was attended by 360 figures from British business, politics and finance and the entertainment included 130 specially hired hostesses.
All of the women were told to wear skimpy black outfits with matching underwear and high heels. At an after-party many hostesses — some of them students earning extra cash — were groped, sexually harassed and propositioned.
The event has been a mainstay of London’s social calendar for 33 years, yet the activities have remained largely unreported — unusual, perhaps, for a fundraiser of its scale.
Over the course of six hours, many of the hostesses were subjected to groping, lewd comments and repeated requests to join diners in bedrooms elsewhere in the Dorchester.
Many of the hostesses were subjected to groping, lewd comments and requests to join diners in bedrooms elsewhere in the Dorchester. Hostesses reported men repeatedly putting hands up their skirts; one said an attendee had exposed his penis to her during the evening.
At their initial interviews, women were warned that the men in attendance might be “annoying” or try to get the hostesses “pissed”. One hostess was advised to lie to her boyfriend about the fact it was a male-only event. “Tell him it’s a charity dinner,” she was told.
“It’s a Marmite job. Some girls love it, and for other girls it’s the worst job of their life and they will never do it again . . . You just have to put up with the annoying men and if you can do that it’s fine,”
Ms Dandridge told the hostess. Two days before the event, Ms Dandridge told prospective hostesses by email that their phones would be “safely locked away” for the evening and that boyfriends and girlfriends were not welcome at the venue.
Te uniform requirements also became more detailed: all hostesses should bring “BLACK sexy shoes”, black underwear, and do their hair and make-up as they would to go to a “smart sexy place”. Dresses and belts would be supplied on the day.
If you're interested in particulars of the debauchery just follow the link above to the Financial Times report. On reading it there was no escaping the fact that one person who would unquestionably be comfortable, right at home, at such an event is the Mango Mussolini, Donald J. Trump, president of the United States of America. That is just his sort of club.
One report referred to the attendees as "rakes." That brought to mind another prominent American, Benjamin Franklin, and his history as a member of another secretive British association, the Hellfire Club. Franklin had serious trouble controlling his libido. Sound familiar?
It would do great injustice to Franklin to make him out as a colonial Trump. His accomplishments alone, especially as an inventor and a scientist, utterly eclipse Trump's ill-gotten fortune. Franklin never became president and, had he been around back then, Trump would not have either. Americans weren't quite as addled as they are today.
However, below the belt, they were of a kind, rakes.