Skip To Content

5 Things About Gloria Allred

Donald Trump’s taped boast about assaulting women — and later assertions from a dozen women that he acted as he said — have stirred a hornet’s nest of sexual harassment and assault allegations. For two decades, Jewish attorney Gloria Allred has been at the center of that discussion, representing clients who have accused powerful men of abuse.

Given Allred’s prominence, it’s perhaps not surprising that she’d figure in this drama. And indeed she has — taking the cases of three Trump accusers and firing back at allegations from his campaign that she orchestrated the allegations with Hillary Clinton’s blessing.

Here are five facts about the intrepid lawyer and women’s rights advocate.

A Civil Rights Background

Born as Gloria Rachel Bloom, the now septuagenarian Allred grew up in Philadelphia and attended the University of Pennsylvania. During her time there, she had a daughter in a rocky marriage that soon broke up. She then moved out to Los Angeles and worked as a high school teacher in the Watts neighborhood, then a center of black discontent and activism. She had written her undergraduate thesis on black writers, and was drawn to issues of equity and injustice.

Rape Survivor

While a teacher in Los Angeles, she was raped while on vacation in Mexico, and subsequently had to have an abortion, according to a profile in The New York Times. Because it was still illegal to terminate a pregnancy, she had the procedure done in a back alley, where she almost bled out. “I originally thought it was my own bad luck,” she told The Times. “Eventually I figured out there was something systematic in the way women are treated.”

Master of the Press

Eventually, Allred graduated from law school, and soon enough made a reputation as a high profile litigator for women alleging discrimination, harassment and assault. She has been attorney to Tiger Woods’ mistress, O.J. Simpson victim Nicole Brown’s family, Roman Polanski alleged victim Charlotte Lewis and many other women of lesser prominence. She currently represents reality star Summer Zervos, yoga instructor Karena Virginia, and adult film actress Jessica Drake, all of whom accuse Trump of sexual improprieties.

Unbowed and Unafraid

She has become known for press conferences in which she calls out her client’s abusers and demands restitution. In so doing, she’s recognized for a take no prisoners style, and a willingness to represent anyone whom she thinks has been wronged. “She represents people who we might not want to go to lunch with… She takes on issues that are too messy for the courtroom. Some people think it’s salacious, what she’s bringing into the public square,” said Thane Rosenbaum, a professor at Fordham Law, in comments for The Times profile. Responding to the Trump’s threat to sue his female accusers, Allred hit back, saying, “It is a new low even for you. Mr. Trump, your threat is below the dignity of the office you are seeking and I say to the women of this great country, we shall overcome.”

5. Cultural Icon

Involved in celebrity cases, Allred has become a star in her own right. She has been parodied on the cartoon shows “Family Guy” and “South Park.” She even made it onto the campy “RuPaul’s Drag Race” for several episodes in a row.

Contact Daniel J. Solomon at [email protected] or on Twitter @DanielJSolomon

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.