V. Stiviano is the other voice on the tapes that brought down Donald Sterling, the worst owner in major U.S. sports. She's being sued by Donald Sterling's wife Shelly to reclaim cars, cash, and a $1.8 million-dollar apartment. Shelly claims Stiviano seduced her husband to get all that. The lawsuit's laughable and was pretty well lit on fire by Stiviano's lawyer, Mac Nehoray, in a demurrer.
Nehoray claims that Stiviano:
- Never had a romantic or sexual relationship with Sterling
- Didn't release or sell the tapes to TMZ (a longer tape was obtained by Deadspin,
In the coverage and reaction to the story, no one appears to be considering that Nehoray, and by extension Stiviano, might be telling the truth. In articles, she's automatically a 'girlfriend' or a 'mistress'; in comments, a 'gold digger', a 'whore', or worse.
Why don't we believe her?
The reasons are familiar and bad. Some of it's misogyny; we can't imagine someone like Stiviano, an ambitious hashtagger, arriving at that kind of luxury without using sex.
It's also some patriarchy; we're giving Donald Sterling's sexual function a lot more credit than it's earned. Let me explain:
In a 2003 deposition, Sterling testified that he wasn't really about spending a lot of money on women he was having sex with.
He's a legendarily cheap guy, the type of dude who asked his first coach, Paul Silas, if he could tape up players so he wouldn't have to hire a trainer. The idea that Stiviano got paid to be Sterling's mistress is difficult to process.
Now, Sterling had that capacity, at least financially. He's staggeringly rich. But he swore he wasn't about to pay a premium for sex. So what's he paying Stiviano for now, if not sex?
Maybe Sterling was lying and actually was tricking off the millions he wouldn't spend on players on women back in the day, and he's kept up.
Maybe V. Stiviano's turned him into the Simperor and she's a very well-compensated mistress.
Or, maybe, just maybe, she and her lawyer are telling the truth. Perhaps she's a good assistant/confidant/archivist and Donald, who ain't the fittest octogenarian in the world, just likes being seen with her.
I haven't seen anyone give credence to that third possibility. I'm much more willing to believe Donald Sterling isn't that into having sex with anyone any more than to just take Shelly Sterling's word for it. Shelly Sterling will lie about being a government official to get into your apartment.
We're likely to get some answers to these questions, but it'd be nice if someone else was asking them, too.