Exclusive: Carly Fiorina, Strippers and Competence

Carly Fiorina
AP via Fox News

One of Carly Fiorina’s first important business meetings took place at a strip-club — and she came out the winner, with some help from the strippers.

It was in 1980, and Fiorina had just joined AT&T as a saleswoman, she said Monday in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News.

She was supposed to meet major clients for the first time, but one of her colleagues told her she would have to stay back at the office. “This colleague came to my desk and said, ‘Sorry, you can’t come, we’re going to the strip club,'” Fiorina said.

“I was pretty freaked, out as you can imagine,” she said.

But she didn’t cave. “[I was] being tested and shut out of something that was important for me to do [so] I told him I had to go.”

On the morning of the meeting, she put on her best 80’s business clothes and hailed a cab. When the driver asked her destination, she told him The Board Room, which was the name of the strip club where the meeting was to take place. The driver looked at her and asked, “Oh, are you the new act?” she recalled. These days, she describes that question as the “funny side” of the story, but she wasn’t laughing at the time.

When she got to the strip club, “it was obviously very awkward, but I was determined not to be scared off from my job,” Fiorina said.

“I also recall that my colleague who was doing his best to make this as embarrassing as possible for me kept asking the young women to come over — the trademark of this particular place was that young women danced on top of the tables. He kept trying to get women to dance on top of the table and several [strippers] approached and looked at the situation and basically said ‘Not ’til the lady leaves,’ which was a wonderful moment actually. You know, it was a little bit of empathy among women for what was going on.”

After several hours of workplace hazing, Fiorina proved her point, and left “the meeting.”

Nothing similar ever happened again.

“That colleague and I became very good co-workers. I never mentioned it again, neither did he, but I had made my point,” Fiorina told Breitbart News.

In her book, Tough Choices, Fiorina describes her realization that she would not be granted a “presumption of competence” given men in her line of work.

Fortunately, today’s voters are different than 1980’s salesmen. “Voters have been very fair to me…When voters get to see me and hear me and understand who I am, whether that’s through a debate or a town hall meeting, they give me a real opportunity.”


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