Donald Trump Filmed a 1991 Hair Metal Video
Based on all available evidence, Donald Trump enjoys loud noises and scantily clad women — so it should come as no surprise that he agreed to film an appearance in a 1991 music video for the short-lived all-female hard rock quintet Precious Metal.
The clip in question, filmed for the band's cover of the Jean Knight classic "Mr. Big Stuff," was supposed to help goose sales for the self-titled album Precious Metal had released the previous year through the Chameleon Records imprint. Recognizing that the group's style of music was slipping on the charts, execs dreamed up a video in which the band members would harangue Trump to the song's empowering lyrics.
After being approached to participate, Trump agreed to do it in exchange for a $100,000 fee that would then be donated to the charity of his choice. After seeing the end results, however, he refused to sign off on the video, claiming he'd been misled about what he'd believed to be a minor part — and demanding to be paid $250,000 instead.
Entertainment Weekly reported on the fallout from the disagreement at the time, with Trump accusing the band of "getting a lot of free publicity on my name" and adding he'd only agreed to do it as a favor to Jay Pritzker, with whom he co-owned the Grand Hyatt in New York — and whose son Danny ran Chamelon.
"It’s not good music," shrugged Trump. "[But] if they come up with the money necessary, I’ll reconsider."
The experience, unsurprisingly, proved bitter for the band, which was forced to re-shoot Trump's scenes with a stand-in — and professed to be less than impressed with his conduct during filming. "He put his arm around our guitarist and said, ‘Ooh, hard body. No cellulite,’" said singer Leslie Knauer. "I guess that’s his way of being complimentary."
The incident resurfaced during the 2016 presidential campaign, at which point Knauer shared more of the story — and essentially claimed that Precious Metal ended up being collateral damage in a tiff between Trump and the Pritzkers. As she told Billboard, she believes the elder Pritzker told Trump he'd consider purchasing Trump's struggling airline if he agreed to do the video.
"This is what I understand to be the truth. I wasn't supposed to tell anybody this, but what the fuck," said Knauer. "Trump then said, 'Are you going to buy it?' Pritzker went, 'No, fuck you,' but no one told us."
Ultimately, Precious Metal ended up being dropped, Chameleon folded, and Trump sued Pritzker in 1993 — and for years, the band's brush with Trump was little more than a footnote in the fading days of hair metal. In 2016, while promoting a solo release, guitarist Janet Robin confirmed Trump's treatment of her during the shoot, looking back on the aborted video as a pivotal moment in the band's demise.
"It was really a shame, a disappointment,” Robin told the Huffington Post. "There certainly weren’t many hard-rock all-girl bands in that time, and we were just trying to make more of a name for ourselves and promote our new record."
Precious Metal's career may not have been done any favors by their "Mr. Big Stuff" video shoot, but their story still has something of a happy ending: In 2014, after years apart, several of the band's original members reunited for a breast-cancer benefit — and as they put it, the "reunion turned into a re-incarnation" that's still going strong.