There is a pee tape on the internet featuring a Donald Trump-shaped man and two nearly nude women who are cavorting in what sure looks like the presidential suite at the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow. It is real in the sense that it is a video that exists in the world—but is it real real?
That’s the question that Slate’s Ashley Feinberg tries to answer in an incredible investigation into the fake-real-fake “pee tape,” which appears to have first been posted online in January of this year. Here’s how Feinberg describes it:
When I clicked on the link, I was expecting to see some sort of over-lit, terribly acted parody porno, maybe with a guy in an off-kilter Trump wig talking to women with fake Russian accents. Instead, I got bleary, claustrophobic shadows. The clip is punctuated with jerky, sporadic zooms, making it hard to get a sense of what it is you’re viewing. What you’re watching is not video of the thing itself, but what appears to be a handheld recording of a screen that is playing the video of the thing itself. There’s no sound and no indication of what (or who) else might be in the room with the screen you’re seeing secondhand.
But is this the pee tape? Alas, Feinberg ultimately concludes that the pee take is a fake, based on the fact that the presidential suite featured in the video could not have been the room Trump stayed in while at the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow in 2013. (It had been remodeled after his stay, yet the video features the updated, post-2013 suite.)
Still, there is widespread interest in this fake-real tape. Visitors to pisstape.org, where the clip now lives, have come from far and wide:
Looking through the site’s access logs, I found that visitors to pisstape.org have had IP addresses tied to locations including Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (which is primarily funded by the Department of Energy), the Aerospace Corporation (a federally funded nonprofit), the Swedish Tax Administration, the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, the U.K. Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food, the United States Antarctic Program, Lockheed Martin, and Halliburton.
All of this begs the question, of course, of who exactly went to the trouble of creating this real but fake pee tape, which, as Feinberg notes, was likely recorded in the $18,000 per night suite at the Moscow Ritz-Carlton. Was it you, Roger Stone?
You can read Feinberg’s full—and exhaustively delightful—investigation here.
Where do you stand on the fake-real pee tape? Do you want to believe???