Finally, her name is made public to American audiences, although the French have long known. Nafissatou Diallo opened up to Newsweek, months after the alleged incident in New York's Sofitel hotel that changed the course of global politics. The 32-year-old woman from Guinea reiterated her story about the encounter with the former IMF chief. She talks of fighting him off, of his strength and persistence and her fearing of losing her job if she reported him.
In a long article, the magazine describes Diallo:
"Nafi" Diallo is not glamorous. Her light-brown skin is pitted with what look like faint acne scars, and her dark hair is hennaed, straightened, and worn flat to her head, but she has a womanly, statuesque figure. When her face is in repose, there is an opaque melancholy to it. Working at the Sofitel for the last three years, with its security and stability, was clearly the best job she’d ever hoped to have, after years braiding hair and working in a friend’s store in the Bronx as a newcomer from Guinea in 2003.
The article raises questions about her credibility and possible lies to get asylum status in the U.S., but her description of the May 14 incident is vivid:
"Hello? Housekeeping." Diallo looked around the living room. She was standing facing the bedroom in the small entrance hall when the naked man with white hair appeared. "Oh, my God," said Diallo. "I'm so sorry." And she turned to leave. "You don’t have to be sorry," he said. But he was like "a crazy man to me." He clutched at her breasts. He slammed the door of the suite.
Diallo is about 5 feet 10, considerably taller than Strauss-Kahn, and she has a sturdy build. "You're beautiful," Strauss-Kahn told her, wrestling her toward the bedroom. "I said, 'Sir, stop this. I don't want to lose my job,' " Diallo told Newsweek. "He said, 'You're not going to lose your job.'?" An ugly incident with a guest — any guest — could threaten everything Diallo had worked for. "I don't look at him. I was so afraid. I didn't expect anyone in the room."
Read the entire article at Newsweek's website.
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