E. Jean Carroll

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E. Jean Carroll
Carroll smiling and holding an umbrella
Carroll in 2006
Born (1943-12-12) December 12, 1943 (age 78)
Detroit, Michigan, United States
Alma materIndiana University
OccupationJournalist, advice columnist
EmployerElle, 1993–2019
Known forAsk E. Jean advice column
Spouse(s)John Johnson (div.)

Elizabeth Jean Carroll (born December 12, 1943) is an American journalist, author, and advice columnist. Her "Ask E. Jean" column appeared in Elle magazine from 1993 through 2019, becoming one of the longest-running advice columns in American publishing.[1]

The first female contributing editor for Playboy, Carroll was noted for her gonzo-style first person narrative as a journalist; The New York Times wrote that she was "feminism's answer to Hunter S. Thompson."[2]

In her 2019 book, What Do We Need Men For?: A Modest Proposal, Carroll accused Les Moonves and Donald Trump of sexually assaulting her in the mid-1990s. Both Moonves and Trump denied the allegations.[3][4][5][6]

Early life[edit]

Elizabeth Jean "E. Jean" Carroll was born on December 12, 1943,[citation needed] in Detroit, Michigan. She also went by "Jeannie". Her father, Thomas F. "Tom" Carroll, Jr., was an inventor, and her mother, Betty (née McKinney) Carroll, was a retired Allen County, Indiana politician.[7][8] Carroll was raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana and attended Indiana University. A Pi Beta Phi and a cheerleader, she was crowned Miss Indiana University in 1963, and in 1964, as a representative of the university, she won the Miss Cheerleader USA title.[9] She appeared on To Tell The Truth in 1965.[10][11]


Column: Ask E. Jean[edit]

Carroll's "Ask E. Jean" column appeared in Elle from 1993 until 2020. Widely read, it was acclaimed for Carroll's 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.[12][13] When it debuted, Amy Gross, a former editor-in-chief of Elle, compared the column to putting Carroll on a "bucking bronco", describing her responses to readers as "the cheers and whoops and hollers of a fearless woman having a good ol' time."[14]

Carroll was fired from Elle in February 2020; she wrote on Twitter that she was dismissed "Because Trump ridiculed my reputation, laughed at my looks, & dragged me through the mud."[15] Elle maintained that the decision to fire Carroll was a business decision unrelated to Trump.[16]

Television: Ask E. Jean, Saturday Night Live[edit]

Carroll wrote for Saturday Night Live in the mid-1980s. She was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program in 1987.[17]

From 1994 through 1996, NBC's America's Talking—the predecessor to MSNBC—aired Ask E. Jean, a television series that Carroll produced. Entertainment Weekly called Carroll "the most entertaining cable talk show host you will never see."[18] Carroll and the show were nominated for a CableACE Award in 1995.[19]

Magazines, books, and anthologies[edit]

In addition to writing for magazines including The Atlantic and Vanity Fair, Carroll served as a contributing editor for Outside, Esquire and Playboy. She was Playboy's first female contributing editor.[20]

Carroll was known for her gonzo-style first-person narratives.[2] She hiked into the Star Mountains with an Atbalmin tracker and a Telefomin warrior;[21] chronicled the lives of basketball groupies in a story called "Love in the Time of Magic";[22] and went to Indiana to investigate why four white farm kids were thrown out of school for dressing like black artists in "The Return of the White Negro".[23] She tracked down her old boyfriends and moved in with them and their wives and went on a camping trip with Fran Lebowitz. Bill Tonelli, her Esquire and Rolling Stone editor, said in a 1999 interview that all of Carroll's stories were "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."[24]

Several of Carroll's pieces have been included in non-fiction anthologies 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).[25] Her 2002 story for Spin, "The Cheerleaders" 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).[26][27]

In 1993, Carroll's biography of Hunter S. Thompson, Hunter: The Strange and Savage Life of Hunter S. Thompson, was published by Dutton. Her memoir, What Do We Need Men For?: A Modest Proposal was released in June 2019. The title referred to the 1729 satire, A Modest Proposal, by Jonathan Swift.[28]

In the late summer and fall of 2020 and the winter of 2021, Carroll published a series about the women who came forward to accuse Donald Trump of sexual misbehavior for The Atlantic, profiling Natasha Stoynoff, Karena Virginia, Jessica Leeds, Alva Johnson and Kristin Anderson. Vanity Fair published Carroll's profile of Jill Harth. This American Life featured her in conversation with Jessica Leeds.[29]


In 2002, Carroll co-founded greatboyfriends.com with her sister, Cande Carroll. On the site, women recommended their ex-boyfriends to each other.[30] GreatBoyfriends was acquired by The Knot Inc. in 2005. In 2004, she launched Catch27.com, a spoof of Facebook. On the site, people put their profiles on trading cards and bought, sold, and traded each other.[31] She launched an online version of her column, askejean.com, in 2007. Ten years later Carroll co-founded Tawkify, "a personal concierge" for dating." She also advised Tawkify's matchmaking team.[1]

Sexual assault allegations[edit]

Donald Trump[edit]

On June 21, 2019, prior to the release of her book, which detailed the event, 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.[3][11][32] Trump denied the allegations, claiming he had never met her.[33] However, in the New York magazine article, Carroll provided a photograph which showed her meeting Trump in 1987.[11][34] Two people she told, Lisa Birnbach and Carol Martin, confirmed with New York that they had discussed the alleged assault with Carroll.[11][35][3][36]

Carroll chose not to describe the alleged sexual assault as rape, instead describing it as a fight. "My word is fight. My word is not the victim word ... I fought."[37][38][39]

Defamation suit[edit]

In addition to other comments denying Carroll's accusation, Trump stated in a June 2019 interview with The Hill that Carroll was "totally lying" and that he knew "nothing about her". He also said that she was "not his type" and implied that her allegation was politically and financially motivated.[40]

In November 2019, Carroll filed a defamation suit with the New York Supreme Court. The suit stated that Trump had damaged her reputation, substantially harmed her professionally, and caused emotional pain. After the suit was filed, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said: "The lawsuit is frivolous and the story is a fraud—just like the author." [41]

In January 2020, Carroll's attorneys served a request for a DNA sample from Trump to compare against the unidentified male DNA on the black dress she was wearing when she alleged he attacked her.[42]

In September 2020, citing the Federal Tort Claims Act, DOJ lawyers argued that Trump, in responding to Carroll's accusation, had acted in his official capacity. In addition to replacing Trump's personal lawyers, the right to move the proceedings from state to federal court was asserted. Carroll's lawyer, Roberta A. Kaplan issued a statement that in part read: "Trump's effort to wield the power of the U.S. government to evade responsibility for his private misconduct is without precedent."[43]

In October 2020, U.S. District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan rejected the government's motion. In November of the same year, the DOJ filed an appeal with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.[44]

Les Moonves[edit]

In 2019, Carroll, alongside 12 other women, accused CBS Corporation executive Les Moonves of sexual assault. She says the incident occurred in an elevator after she had interviewed Moonves for a story. Moonves denied the allegation.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Carroll resides around Warwick, New York.[45][46] She was formerly married to reporter John Johnson.[11]

Selected books[edit]

  • 1985: Female Difficulties: Sorority Sisters, Rodeo Queens, Frigid Women, Smut Stars, and Other Modern Girls, Bantam Books, ISBN 9780553050882
  • 1993: Hunter: The Strange and Savage Life of Hunter S. Thompson, Dutton, ISBN 9780525935681
  • 1997: A Dog in Heat Is a Hot Dog and Other Rules to Live By, a collection of her Ask E. Jean columns, Simon and Schuster, ISBN 9780671568146
  • 2004: Mr. Right, Right Now, HarperCollins, ISBN 9780060530280
  • 2019: What Do We Need Men For?: A Modest Proposal, St. Martin's Press, ISBN 9781250215444


  1. ^ a b Stone, Madeline. "A 72-year-old advice columnist launched a matchmaking service out of Stanford's startup accelerator". Business Insider. Retrieved February 28, 2021.
  2. ^ a b Bennett, Jessica; Twohey, Megan; Alter, Alexandra (June 27, 2019). "Why E. Jean Carroll, 'the Anti-Victim,' Spoke Up About Trump (Published 2019)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 28, 2021.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Baker, Peter (June 25, 2019). "Trump, accused again of sexual misconduct, insults woman who said he assaulted her". The Boston Globe. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  7. ^ "Thomas F. Carroll Jr Obituary". dignitymemorial.com.
  8. ^ E. Jean Carroll (February 1996). A Dog in Heat is a Hot Dog and Other Rules to Live By. Google Books. p. 46. ISBN 9780671568146.
  9. ^ Holly Miller, Indianapolis Monthly (October 1996) "Zings and Arrows"
  10. ^ "To Tell the Truth Primetime Episode Guide 1956-67". www.ttttontheweb.com. Retrieved February 28, 2021.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ Joan Kelly Bernard, Newsday, March 1994, pg B.13 "Get a Grip and Take Some Sassy but Sane Advice from Elle's E. Jean".
  13. ^ The New York Times, Sunday March 30, 1997, front page of the Styles section.
  14. ^ Katherine Rosman, "Method to Her Madness," page 99, Brill's Content, November 1999.
  15. ^ Grady, Constance (February 19, 2020). "E. Jean Carroll says Trump raped her. She's suing him. Now she's been fired from Elle". Vox. Retrieved February 28, 2021.
  16. ^ Rosman, Katherine; Bennett, Jessica (February 21, 2020). "What Happened Between E. Jean Carroll and Elle Magazine? (Published 2020)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 28, 2021.
  17. ^ "Jean E. Carroll". Television Academy. Retrieved February 28, 2021.
  18. ^ Entertainment Weekly, December 30, 1994/January 6, 1995/September 30, 1994.
  19. ^ Margulies, Pau (September 20, 1995). "HBO Leads the Pack With 89 CableACE Nominations: Television: Nods for 'Larry Sanders,' 'Dream On' push network ahead of Showtime, which garners 36". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 28, 2021.
  20. ^ Jones, Charisse. "Beauty queen, journalist, pioneer. The many faces of Trump accuser E. Jean Carroll". USA Today. Retrieved February 28, 2021.
  21. ^ Playboy, Page 88, February 1988.
  22. ^ CARROLL, E. JEAN. "Love in the Time of Magic | Esquire | APRIL 1992". Esquire | The Complete Archive. Retrieved February 28, 2021.
  23. ^ Carroll, E. Jean. "The Return of the White Negro | Esquire | JUNE 1994". Esquire | The Complete Archive. Retrieved February 28, 2021.
  24. ^ Katherine Rosman, "Method to Her Madness", page 98, Brill's Content, November 1999.
  25. ^ "Best of Outside The First 20 Years by Outside Magazine". www.powells.com. Retrieved February 28, 2021.
  26. ^ Otto Penzler, Thomas H. Cook & Nicholas Pileggi, Editors: Best American Crime Writing
  27. ^ Miller, Hayley (June 23, 2019). "Sunday Morning Talk Shows Largely Ignore Trump Rape Allegation". HuffPost. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  28. ^ Garber, Megan (July 3, 2019). "You Should Really Read E. Jean Carroll's Memoir". The Atlantic. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  29. ^ "The Unreality of Now". This American Life. October 23, 2020. Retrieved February 28, 2021.
  30. ^ 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.
  31. ^ Matthew Shaer, The Boston Globe, February 21, 2006.
  32. ^ "Trump dismisses E. Jean Carroll rape allegation as 'fiction'". BBC News. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  33. ^ https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/450116-trump-vehemently-denies-e-jean-carroll-allegation-shes-not-my-type[bare URL]
  34. ^ 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.
  35. ^ NBC News (June 21, 2019). "E. Jean Carroll accuses President Trump of sexually assaulting her in mid-1990s". KVOA. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  36. ^ 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.
  37. ^ Victor, Daniel (June 27, 2019). "Two Women Who Heard E. Jean Carroll's Account of Being Attacked by Trump Go Public". The New York Times. Retrieved June 27, 2019.
  38. ^ "Corroborating E. Jean Carroll". The New York Times. June 27, 2019. Retrieved September 9, 2020. Every woman gets to choose her word. Every woman gets to choose how she describes it. This is my way of saying it. This is my word. My word is fight. My word is not the victim word. I am not—I have not been raped. Something has not been done to me. I fought. That's the thing.
  39. ^ Weir, Keziah. "How Has E. Jean Carroll's Life Been Since Accusing Donald Trump? "Fabulous. Buoyant."". Vanity Fair. Retrieved February 28, 2021.
  40. ^ Homan, Timothy R. (June 24, 2019). "EXCLUSIVE: Trump vehemently denies E. Jean Carroll allegation, says 'she's not my type'". TheHill. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  41. ^ "Columnist Who Accused Trump Of Sexual Assault Is Suing Him For Defamation". NPR.org. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  42. ^ "AP Exclusive: Woman who says Trump raped her seeks his DNA". AP NEWS. January 30, 2020. Retrieved March 9, 2021.
  43. ^ Feuer, Alan (September 8, 2020). "Justice Dept. Intervenes to Help Trump in E. Jean Carroll Defamation Lawsuit". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  44. ^ "DOJ files appeal in E. Jean Carroll lawsuit against President Trump". ABC News. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  45. ^ https://observer.com/2015/09/a-walk-in-the-woods-with-e-jean-carroll/amp/[bare URL]
  46. ^ Bio appearing on AskEJean.com 2007

External links[edit]