Trump Productions LLC and MTV produced an eight episode reality TV show called “Girls of Hedsor Hall” . One participant named Jen Marden has exclusively contacted me by email, phone and twitter.
Marden’s allegations of abuse, civil breach of contract and potentially criminal offenses under both UK and European law initially shocked me, but did not surprise me and led towards a two week investigation to produce this story.
Jen Marden is a real person.
Trump’s TV company nearly killed her.
Her story shows how Trump’s business grinder chewed up, and spit out real people who expected to be treated like human beings - or at minimum as per the terms of their prior written agreements.
She participated in Trump’s sexist reality MTV program featuring a fake “girls finishing school” that was shot just outside London, at the same time Trump University was scamming thousands of Americans at home.
I originally reported Marden’s story about her Trump reality TV show near-death experience in March 2016, but at the time OccupyDemocrats.com was experiencing technical problems and only a couple of thousand readers saw it.
The Huffington Post’s editors declined publication in March, even though I submitted this complete background information file with notes of every interview, painstakingly conducted with London police and Scotland Yard, as well as a labor lawyer in London and the victim herself.
So I convinced the wise editors at OccupyDemocrats to give the story an unprecedented re-run on June 17th, 2016, which is in the substantially same form published in March.
Twenty-two thousand readers saw it late that June Friday night, but the story of Trump’s pervasive abuse of women wasn’t “hot” topic early in the summer.
Today, it stands as yet another woman’s tale of abuse at the hands of Donald Trump, that was ignored by the mainstream media.
This account is based on emails, phone calls and twitter messages during the course of two weeks, and Jen Marden’s unabridged account of her harrowing experience is published in full below.
Trump Productions Would Not Let Marden Leave
Marden told me that her Doctor said that she would've died of dehydration or malnutrition had she remained on the set of the Show - hosted by former Miss USA Tara Connor - for too much longer than she did.
Trump’s production company kept her on set for days after she asked to leave, and they were holding her passport that whole time.
That is forced labor.
In an exclusive email interview with the confirmed contestant who was portrayed by the show as “Jen M” - known in real life as Florida resident Jen Marden - she alleges a serious breach of contract against the show’s producers on the set during filming.
She provided a copy of her MTV Network contract, which paid her as contestant only $100 per day, which sounds an awful lot lower than the minimum legal wage here or there.
Producers withheld Jen Marder’s passport when she wished to exercise her right to leave the show freely for health reasons.
Flying people across international borders for the purpose of exploiting their labor is known as human trafficking.
The Trump Models company lawsuit alleges precisely the same kind of behavior, moving women across international borders for work in fashion and entertainment, and without obtaining local work permission.
One contestant took home a $100,000 "trust fund" as a grand prize.
Jen Marden told me:
“It was really bad.. Trump & MTV produced the show. It was filmed in London & in our contract it said any participant can leave whenever they want so when I got assaulted & asked to leave the show the producers told me leaving will be kinda hard considering we have your passport!! Legally speaking, I'm pretty sure you can take someone's passport unless you are law enforcement not sure if the term is entrapment or kidnapping..
According to the contract, with "I" being Ms. Marden: “I understand that although I am free to leave the Living Space at any time, if I do indeed leave the Living Space without the prior consent of Producer, I am subject to disqualification and elimination from the Program.”
The contract provided was not counter-signed, but presumably is an accurate and correct copy of the agreement between parties. Marden clearly indicated that she found her behavior to be bound by its designs.
In a telephone interview, Marden collected roughly $1400 for two weeks overseas. Her medical bills we not paid by the network after her ordeal getting home and going to NYU Medical Hospital in Mahnattan, NY.
Jen Marden also indicated that she went to the media in 2009 after the release of the “Girls of Hedson Hall” but relented when MTV threatened her with a “multi-million dollar” lawsuit for speaking out.
By email, also Jen Marden alleged the use of malnutrition to keep the women on edge, forcing contestants to survive on chocolate chips for days while awaiting the formal start of production.
Marden continued to say in her detailed account:
“I was assaulted by an English Count, sleep deprived, malnourished because of inadequate food intake due to my hypoglycemia and anemia and fell unconscious during production in London. Upon my arrival home, I was hospitalized and fell unconscious for two days and was informed by the doctor that I ‘most likely would have died’ if I stayed any longer. I have the hospital records available for you upon request.”
She continued to say that she wasn’t the only Girls of Hedsor Hall “contestant” who was mistreated at the hands of Trump Productions on their lengthy overseas production:
“And that was just the beginning. In addition to my story, this company allowed girls to participate who were not in the required physical and mental state to travel abroad and participate on the show. One of the girls attempted suicide a week before the show, and rather than allowing her to stay home and receive the proper psychiatric care, she was still forced to participate on the show. She is willing to go forward with this story. Another girl was suffering with back pain, but instead of taking her to the hospital to have MRI and X rays taken, she was forced to participate in strenuous activities on the show. As a result, she had to have major back surgery immediately following her arrival at home. She is also willing to forward with her story. These are just some of the horror stories we have to share about our experiences on the show. I want to go forward with this story so others won't suffer the same circumstances.”
Contemporaneously, Jen Marden gave these comments to a New York City blogger around the time of the show’s launch, while still under a strict non-disclosure agreement, where she said:
“I found I didn’t really like it in the end, and that’s not to say I know how the producers have ended up editing the final version which I have yet to see but on a personal level I lived it on camera and now I’m kinda done with it,” where she also admitted to having “bouts of eating disorders.”
Trump Slut-Shamed His Reality Contestants After The Shoot With False Identities On The Show’s Website
Both Trump and MTV have since downplayed their partnership online - taking down websites and streaming episodes - erasing their role in co-creating the copycat series based on “Ladette to Lady.” The fictitious ladies finishing school program follows the lines of a Pygmalion for awful women, but Marden attested that the ladies were not as bad as their biographies claimed them to be.
Marden told me that the cast’s portrayal was brutal and not entirely factual (which is the norm in reality TV), which explains why none of the women have been eager to step forward, but that several others had tales of physical injury in the wake of their Trump reality TV “contestant” experience.
Trump’s patriarchal production used half-true portrayals on his reality TV show and openly slut-shamed contestants in the program’s written material on its website.
“The Girls of Hedsor Hall -- self-described "nymphomaniac" Brianna, heavy drinker Samantha, bad-tempered Margie, high school-dropout Jenna, gutter-mouthed Lillian, wild child Amanda, party girl Kim, snobby bitch Jen M, foul-mouthed Maddy, booty-baring punkette Hillary, bar brawling Paola, and Jennifer, the self-proclaimed "Blackout Queen of North Carolina" -- will have a chance to smooth their rough edges and reform the behavior that's made them notorious.”
But they can’t get back their reputations entirely, or anything more than they’ve been paid for the personal defamation Trump’s reality TV show inflicted upon them.
Sadly, the women all waived their rights to any claims under libel laws, and many other types of claims in a one-sided, 37-page entertainment contract under California law, a copy of which was provided by Marden un-signed, but as she appeared on the show it is taken for factually the correct form.
Ironically, these ladies had their reputations besmirched for Trump’s profit, while he himself is assiduous about obtaining non-disclosure and non-disparagement agreements to keep those who leave his employment from talking honestly about their experience with the reality TV performer and real estate developer.
The most extreme public example of Trump’s purchased silence is CNN’s Corey Lewandowski (who is getting paid by both the campaign and network) who has to be the first “journalist” or TV pundit to literally be contractually obligated to say only nice things about one candidate in a political race - on national TV.
Jen Marden’s contract also had a limited non-disclosure agreement, causing aforementioned threats of legal action.
Over the phone, Marden stressed that she has mostly put the reality TV nightmare story behind her, but in light of the TV producer’s latest political aspirations, it caused her to speak out to me last spring.
Did Trump Productions Violate Britain’s Labor Laws or Criminal Laws?
Seeking background, I interviewed UK Employment Barrister (labor lawyer) Keith Webster about the situation without revealing the specific players, to get a generic understanding of how labor law works on that side of the pond.
Mr. Webster almost immediately expressed concerns of a criminal violation of the UK’s kidnapping, false imprisonment or forced labor laws based on Marden’s detailed account.
“I don’t know the complete details nor identity of the parties. However, from what I have been told, this situation raises not only questions of US contract law, but it raises questions of whether criminal offenses in the UK have been committed, for example false imprisonment, kidnap or possibly forced labour,” said the British attorney. “You’d simply have to go and see the police, they will investigate the matter, take statements and it would be up to them to consult with prosecuting authorities and make a decision about charging individuals or corporations in the UK criminal Courts.”
Furthermore, Mr. Webster described the described the process by which UK’s civil labor laws would work:
"A search order can be issued by the English civil courts, but they issue them rarely. The Court must be very much convinced that it is proportionate and necessary due to the highly disruptive effect such an order can have. In civil proceedings there is a disclosure process that is followed pretty diligently, which should reveal relevant video evidence. The (UK) police have the power to search and seize video evidence if they can find it, and the criminal courts have power to order disclosure if they know that evidence exists, which they often do."
I interviewed Scotland Yard public information officer Alan Crockford at the press bureau, and he indicated that if a story such as Marden’s is reported, that they would investigate the allegations seriously.
Witnesses would be interviewed, and under the government’s sole discretion charges could be brought.
In his opinion, most forced labor cases involve workers in low-wage fields or women smuggled across international lines for prostitution.
Mr. Crockford said that withholding passports to force a theatrical performer to stay on set, when that person wished to leave was highly unusual.
According to Mr. Crockford, the victim would have to contact the Thames Valley Police, as the proper local agency with legal jurisdiction to accept a complaint at the Hedsor House.
The way the process works, Scotland Yard’s investigators would take statements from any other witnesses or show participants, review video, and request the show’s complete recordings before making a determination of criminality and deciding whom to charge, if a corporation or an individual or both.
Forced labour is illegal under British law.
So is Human Trafficking, which is defined as bringing people across an international border for the purposes of exploitation in forced labour.
In fact, the UK passed a new “Modern Slavery” law in 2015 specifically to clarify and strengthen the law and its penalties, and provide for an Anti-Slavery Commissioner.
As well, European law bans forced labor under one of the Geneva Conventions.
Additionally, the European Convention on Human Rights bans forced labor under Article 4, which is enforced by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which acts as a court of last resort, for those individuals unable to find justice under local law.
Legal observers say that it’s highly unusual for any court to give individuals standing in international affairs, but due to the difficulty of prosecuting offenses across borders, the ECHR does just that because for many it is their only recourse for justice.
Marden’s Unabridged Personal Account Of Abuse By Trump Productions On The Set Of “The Girls Of Hedsor Hall”
Jen Marden’s complete account is below, she claims to have the matching medical records:
TIME LINE OF INCIDENTS ON THE “GIRLS OF HEDSOR HALL”
PLEASE NOTE THAT I COULD BE OFF WITH THE EXACT DATES BUT I THINK THIS IS CLOSE TO ACCURATE
October 6th Left for London
October 7th: arrived in London, was taken directly to the airport hotel
October 8th: Stayed in my room at the hotel all day and night w/ hardly any food, could not leave the room unless we asked the security guards that were stationed outside each of our rooms. We did not have our luggage & they took my prescription medication away.
October 9th: left for Hedsor Hall around mid afternoon
October 10th-12th production was setting up, no catering set up yet so we were forced to consume chocolate and chips. Could not leave our rooms AT ALL
October 13th: Started filming
October 14th: met with the instructors, got our uniforms, went over logistics
October 15th: Hosted a cocktail party where I got into a verbal argument with one of the guys. I was assaulted; tried to walk away but was held against my will for at least 5 mins by this guy while the camera were rolling & the producers where just watching this take place & not do anything to stop it. Once I was able to get away the guy grabbed my chest, and once again nothing was being done to stop it. October 16th: Asked to go home after the incident last night but was threatened by the producers BC they had my passport, I call that unlawful imprisonment
October 17th & 18th: Just did our activities
October 19th: Was out in the woods watching hunters kill birds (that in it’s self was traumatic enough for me, but what was even worse was that I was forced to pick up the dead birds) After that lovely activity, we were in the lodge & that is where I passed out (That was the first time I saw the Director & producers tell the cameraman to stop filming) I should have been rushed to the hospital but instead I was forced Glucose down my throat until my blood sugar was back to normal. I was still out of it but instead of resting like you are supposed to do after fainting, the producers made me go along with the next task which was defeathering these birds. I was in hysterics & did not want to do it but the teacher, Ms. Shrager forced me down and made me pluck the feathers and then went so far as to rip it’s head off in front of me splattering me with Blood and feathers. That night I was eliminated for “handing out drugs” which is completely slander and a total defamation of my character, obviously the real reason for my elimination was because the producers finally realized that I was a huge liability for them.
October 20th: Flew back to NY
October 21: Was sleeping since arriving home late last night, did not wake up until October 22.
October 22nd: Once I woke up, I passed out again; my mom was with me & took me to the ER on LI, where I was diagnosed with Malnutrition, exhaustion & dehydration. And was told that I probably would have died if I stayed on the show any longer. It took about a week and a half for me to get back my strength physically, yet emotionally I’m still scared from that experience. I would have thought the horror would have stopped once I got home but when the showed aired in February I was getting death threats everyday for about a month & MTV did nothing to stop it.
The winner take all nature of the program and Jen Marden’s harrowing story of low-pay, starvation and risk of death in pursuit of an elusive, television show prize to be broadcast for the profit and pleasure of the Empire State tycoon is strangely evocative of the The Hunger Games movies.
The reality is, that Donald Trump’s reality TV career was only a success in front of the camera, where a genius like Mark Burnett transformed a failed, foul-mouthed trust fund baby into an American performance success story.
Trump’s television production company was an utter failure, and The Girls of Hedsor Hall reflected the brash Republican’s callous business acumen, poor taste and terrible treatment of women, all into one blessedly short lived TV show.
It was cancelled after eight episodes.
Jen Marden sounded surprised that the British authorities would still completely investigate any allegations.
However, when asked if she would in fact file a formal complaint, Marden indicated that she would contact the Thames Valley Police to explore her options and nothing further in March.
To date, she still has not filed a formal complaint.
Watch the only two remaining YouTube videos about The Girls of Hedsor Hall: