Jamaican-born fashion model Alexia Palmer is taking on Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, saying that the candidate’s modeling agency lured her to work in New York at age 17 with the promise of riches and success, but then later treated her “like a slave.”
In a lawsuit filed recently, Palmer claims that she received only $3,800 plus cash advances totaling $1,100 over a three-year period, despite a special work visa that she signed which was meant to guarantee that she would work “full-time” and earn $75,000 a year.
The suit states that Trump’s agency took 80 percent of Palmer’s total earnings, and booked her only 21 shoots over the three-year period. Palmer told ABC News, “That’s what slavery people do… You work and don’t get no money.”
Trump’s attorney Alan Garten has responded to Palmer’s claims, telling a very different story. “Anything she’s saying about being treated like a slave is completely untrue,” he said. “The greater demand for the model, the better that model does. In the case of the individual you’re talking about, there wasn’t — unfortunately — a lot of demand for that model.”
Palmer's class action lawsuit against Trump will be decided by a judge by the end of this month. She is looking for back pay on "fraudulent misrepresentation," and violations of U.S. immigration and labor laws that will amount to $225,000 if Palmer wins the case.
Immigration experts told ABC News that this type of arrangement is a troubling case of the foreign work program. This comes at time when Trump is being questioned, from both sides of the political spectrum, about his history when it comes to treatment of both women and immigrants, as well as the legitimacy of his various business endeavors.
This newest revelation will only continue to add fuel to the fire that Trump’s political opponents have been stoking. The question is, will a story like this have any impact on the seemingly ravenous support that Trump has garnered? Sadly, it's not likely it will.
(Photos from left: Courtesy of Alexia Palmer, Ethan Miller/Getty Images)