E. Jean Carroll

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E. Jean Carroll
Carroll in 2006
Born (1943-12-12) December 12, 1943 (age 75)
ResidenceFort Wayne, Indiana
OccupationJournalist, advice columnist
Spouse(s)John Johnson (div.)

Elizabeth Jean Carroll (born December 12, 1943) is an American journalist and advice columnist. Her "Ask E. Jean" column has appeared in Elle magazine since 1993, and was ranked one of the five best magazine columns (along with Anthony Lane of The New Yorker and Lewis Lapham of Harper's Magazine) by the Chicago Tribune in 2003.[1]

In June 2019, Carroll accused Les Moonves and Donald Trump of sexually assaulting her in the mid-1990s. Both Moonves and Trump denied the allegations.[2][3][4][5]

Early life[edit]

Carroll was born in Detroit, Michigan, and nicknamed "Betty Jean" from an early age. Her father, Thomas F. "Tom" Carroll, Jr., was an inventor, and her mother, Betty (McKinney) Carroll, was a retired Allen County, Indiana politician.[6][7] Carroll was raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She attended Indiana University, where she was a Pi Beta Phi and a cheerleader and was crowned Miss Indiana University.[8] In 1964, representing Indiana University, she won the Miss Cheerleader USA title.[9] Carroll appeared on the mid-1980s edition of Card Sharks hosted by Bob Eubanks.


As advice columnist[edit]

Carroll's "Ask E. Jean" column has appeared in Elle magazine since 1993. It was ranked one of the five best magazine columns (along with Anthony Lane of The New Yorker and Lewis Lapham of Harper's Magazine) by the Chicago Tribune in 2003.[10]

Carroll's column became known due to her opinions on sex, her insistence that women should "never never" structure their lives around men, and her compassion for letter-writers experiencing difficult life situations.[11][12] Amy Gross, former editor-in-chief of Elle and currently the editor-in-chief of O, The Oprah Magazine, describes the "Ask E. Jean" debut as "though we had put her on a bucking bronco and her answers were the cheers and whoops and hollers of a fearless woman having a good ol time."[13]

NBC's cable channel, America's Talking, produced the Ask E. Jean television show based on the column from 1994 to 1996 (at which time the channel became MSNBC).[14] Entertainment Weekly called Carroll "the most entertaining cable talk show host you will never see."[15] Jeff Jarvis in his review in TV Guide said watching E. Jean and her "robotic hyperactivity drove [him] batty". He went on: "However, then I listened to her and couldn't help liking her. E. Jean gives good advice".[16] Carroll was nominated for an Emmy for her writing for Saturday Night Live (1985) and a Cable Ace Award for the Ask E. Jean show (1995).

Carroll also runs the AskEJean.com website, based on the Elle column, where users can type in questions and receive instant video answers on topics such as careers, beauty, sex, men, diet, "sticky situations", and friends. Users can also join the Advice Vixens, where advice is provided by other users. "Top Campus Sex Columnists" features college advice columnists from across America.[17]

Journalism and books[edit]

In 2002, Carroll's "The Cheerleaders", which appeared in Spin, was selected as one of the year's "Best True Crime Reporting" pieces. It appeared in Best American Crime Writing, edited by Otto Penzler, Thomas H. Cook, and Nicholas Pileggi (Pantheon Books, 2002).[18] Carroll was "Miss Cheerleader USA" in 1964. [19]

Carroll has been a contributing editor to Esquire, Outside, and Playboy magazines. Her focus is "the heart of the heart of the country". For an April 1992 issue of Esquire, she chronicled the lives of basketball groupies in a story called "Love in the Time of Magic". In June 1994, she went to Indiana and investigated why four white farm kids were thrown out of school for dressing like black artists in "The Return of the White Negro".

In "The Loves of My Life" (June 1995), she tracked down her old boyfriends and moved in with them and their wives.[20] Bill Tonelli, her Esquire and Rolling Stone editor, has commented: "All of E. Jean's stories are pretty much the same thing. Which is: ‘What is this person like when he or she is in a room with E. Jean?' She's institutionally incapable of being uninteresting."[21]

For Playboy (February 1988) at the height of the "Sensitive Man" era, E. Jean told her editors that "modern women run around complaining that they want a primitive man, so I thought it would be fun to come to New Guinea and find a real one."[22] Carroll hiked into the Star Mountains with an Atbalmin tracker and a Telefomin warrior. She became the first white woman to walk from Telefomin to Munbil in the former West Irian Jaya, and nearly died.[22]

For Outside, Carroll wrote about (among other things) taking Fran Lebowitz camping and going down the Colorado with a group of "Women Who Run With No Clothes On". Several of E. Jean's pieces for Outside have been included in various non-fiction collections such as The Best of Outside: The First 20 Years (Vintage Books, 1998), Out of the Noosphere: Adventure, Sports, Travel, and the Environment (Fireside, 1998) and Sand in My Bra: Funny Women Write from the Road (Traveler's Tales, 2003).


In 2002, Carroll co-founded Greatboyfriends.com with her sister, Cande Carroll. On the site, women recommended their ex-boyfriends to each other.[23] The Oprah Winfrey Show profiled the website in 2003. The Knot Inc. bought GreatBoyfriends in 2005. In 2004, she launched Catch27.com as a spoof of Facebook. On the site, people put their profiles on trading cards and buy, sell, and trade each other. The Boston Globe headline was "You Can't Buy Friends Like These... Well, Actually You Can."[24] AskEJean.com was launched in 2007. Carroll is pictured and listed on the Tawkify website as co-founder, and an adviser to Tawkify's matchmaking team.[25]

Sexual assault allegations[edit]

On June 21, 2019, eleven days before the announced publishing of her new book What Do We Need Men For?: A Modest Proposal,[26] Carroll wrote in New York magazine that Donald Trump sexually assaulted her in the fall of 1995 or the spring of 1996 in a Bergdorf Goodman store in New York City.[2][8] BBC News described it as a rape allegation.[27] Carroll wrote that she had not had sexual intercourse with anyone since the alleged assault.[28] She also wrote that she had told two friends of the incident. The two friends confirmed with New York that they indeed had such conversations with Carroll.[8][29] The essay was part of an excerpt of Carroll's book What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal, which is scheduled to be published on July 2, 2019. The White House and Trump denied the allegation.[2] The next day, Trump denied having ever met Carroll or knowing of her.[30] However, in the New York magazine article, Carroll provided a photograph which showed her meeting Trump in 1987 along with her then-husband and Trump's then-wife Ivana.[8][31] The two friends Carroll had confided in was revealed when they and Carroll appeared on a podcast of the New York Times; they were writer Lisa Birnbach and news anchor Carol Martin. Carroll refused to say she was "raped", instead choosing to describe it thus: "My word is fight."[32] However, in an transcript of a CNN interview with Anderson Cooper, the word was not "fight," but as follows:

"ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: So you don't feel like a victim?
E. JEAN CARROLL: I was not thrown on the ground and ravished. Which, the word "rape" carries so many sexual connotations. This was not sexual. It just, it hurt.
ANDERSON COOPER: I think most people think of rape as a violent assault. It is not sexual--
E. JEAN CARROLL: I think most people think of rape as being sexy.
ANDERSON COOPER: Let's take a short break.
E. JEAN CARROLL: Think of the fantasies.
ANDERSON COOPER: We're going to take a short break. If you could stick around we can talk more.
E. JEAN CARROLL: You're fascinating to talk to."[33]

Carroll has also alleged that, in the mid-1990s, media executive Les Moonves sexually assaulted her in an elevator after she had interviewed Moonves for a story. Moonves has denied the allegation.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Carroll currently resides in upstate New York.[34] She was formerly married to reporter John Johnson.[8]

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • Female Difficulties: Sorority Sisters, Rodeo Queens, Frigid Women, Smut Stars, and Other Modern Girls (Bantam Books, 1985)
  • A Dog in Heat Is a Hot Dog and Other Rules to Live By (a collection of her Ask E. Jean columns, Pocket Books, 1996)
  • Hunter: The Strange and Savage Life of Hunter S. Thompson (Dutton, 1993)
  • Mr. Right, Right Now (HarperCollins, 2004)
  • What Do We Need Men For?: A Modest Proposal (St. Martin's Press, 2019)


  1. ^ "The 50 Best Magazines". Chicago Tribune. June 12, 2003.
  2. ^ a b c d Haynes, Danielle (June 17, 2019). "Journalist E. Jean Carroll accuses Trump, Moonves of sexual assault". UPI.com. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  3. ^ Baker, Peter; Vigdor, Neil (June 24, 2019). "'She's Not My Type': Accused Again of Sexual Assault, Trump Resorts to Old Insult". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  4. ^ Cabrera, Cristina (June 24, 2019). "Trump Denies Carroll Sexual Assault Accusation By Claiming 'She's Not My Type'". Talking Points Memo. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  5. ^ Baker, Peter (June 25, 2019). "Trump, accused again of sexual misconduct, insults woman who said he assaulted her". Boston Globe. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  6. ^ "Thomas F. Carroll Jr Obituary". dignitymemorial.com.
  7. ^ E. Jean Carroll (February 1996). A Dog in Heat is a Hot Dog and Other Rules to Live By. Google Books. p. 46.
  8. ^ a b c d e Carroll, E. Jean (June 21, 2019). "Donald Trump Assaulted Me, But He's Not Alone on My List of Hideous Men". The Cut. Retrieved June 21, 2019. Donald Trump assaulted me in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room 23 years ago. But he's not alone on the list of awful men in my life.
  9. ^ Holly Miller, Indianapolis Monthly (October 1996) "Zings and Arrows"
  10. ^ "The 50 Best Magazines". Chicago Tribune. June 12, 2003.
  11. ^ Joan Kelly Bernard, Newsday, March 1994, pg B.13 "Get a Grip and Take Some Sassy but Sane Advice from Elle's E. Jean"
  12. ^ The New York Times, Sunday March 30, 1997, front page of the Styles section
  13. ^ Katherine Rosman, "Method to Her Madness," page 99, Brill's Content, November 1999.
  14. ^ USA Today, Friday, December 15, 1995, front page
  15. ^ Entertainment Weekly, December 30, 1994/January 6, 1995/September 30, 1994
  16. ^ TV Guide, March 1995
  17. ^ Tormented? Driven Witless? Whipsawed by Confusion? - Ask E. Jean
  18. ^ Otto Penzler, Thomas H. Cook & Nicholas Pileggi, Editors: Best American Crime Writing, book review by Noel Murray on A.V. Club. "...The book's first and finest piece, "E. Jean Carroll's "The Cheerleaders" (which surveys an upstate New York community cursed by murder and suicide on their high school football team) would be exploitative if its dismembered, half-naked cheerleaders were on a movie screen; conceived as reportage, the details of the case retain their mystery."
  19. ^ Miller, Hayley (June 23, 2019). "Sunday Morning Talk Shows Largely Ignore Trump Rape Allegation". HuffPost. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  20. ^ Esquire, April 1992, June 1994, June 1995.
  21. ^ Katherine Rosman, "Method to Her Madness", page 98, Brill's Content, November 1999.
  22. ^ a b Playboy, Page 88, February 1988
  23. ^ Bellafante, Ginia (November 24, 2002). "New Year's Eve Is Near. Do You Know Who Your Date Is?; Take My Ex, Please: Preowned, Preapproved". The New York Times.
  24. ^ Matthew Shaer, The Boston Globe, February 21, 2006
  25. ^ "Tawkify - A Personal Concierge to your Dating Life". Tawkify, Inc. Tawkify, Inc. June 19, 2017. Retrieved September 11, 2018. E. Jean advises Tawkify's matchmaking team.
  26. ^ What Do We Need Men For?: A Modest Proposal. Publisher: St. Martin's Press (2. Juli 2019) at amazon.com.
  27. ^ "Trump dismisses E. Jean Carroll rape allegation as 'fiction'". BBC News. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  28. ^ Mangan, Dan (June 21, 2019). "Donald Trump sexually assaulted E. Jean Carroll in the mid-1990s, writer says in new book". CNBC. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  29. ^ NBC News (June 21, 2019). "E. Jean Carroll accuses President Trump of sexually assaulting her in mid-1990s". KVOA. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  30. ^ Superville, Darlene (June 22, 2019). "Trump denies knowing NY woman accusing him of sexual assault". Associated Press. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  31. ^ McGann, Laura (June 21, 2019). "Donald Trump is trying to gaslight us on E. Jean Carroll's account of rape". Vox. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  32. ^ Victor, Daniel (June 27, 2019). "Two Women Who Heard E. Jean Carroll's Account of Being Attacked by Trump Go Public". New York Times. Retrieved June 27, 2019.
  33. ^ "President Trump On His Most Recent Accuser: "It Never Happened, She's Not My Type"; Interview With Columnist E. Jean Carroll Who Accuses President Trump of Sexual Assault; In Latest Interview, President Trump Assails Joe Biden, Saying Biden's "Embarrassed" Obama Isn't Endorsing Him; President Trump, Pence Place Dems For Filthy Conditions Where U.S. Keeps Migrant Kids. Aired 8-9p ET". Anderson Cooper 360°. June 24, 2019. CNN. Transcript.
  34. ^ Bio appearing on AskEJean.com 2007

External links[edit]