Disclaimer: I recently met Stormy Daniels during one of her tour stops and wrote about the experience. That was approximately seven days ago. I teased our meeting to my followers, tweeting that I couldn’t wait to tell them “all about the conversation @StormyDaniels and I just had about @MichaelAvenatti.” I documented my account of our meeting in writing and initially planned to release it with an outlet I contribute to. However, while the piece was being considered by editors, multiple reports were published about Michael Avenatti threatening journalists and their respective outlets with lawsuits. 5 total. After much consideration, I’ve decided to release my story independently so that the news outlets I contribute to are not put in an uncomfortable situation. Especially since Daniels and her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, took to Twitter to attack my tweet about meeting her — before knowing what I would say about it.

Stormy claims her and I “didn’t have a ‘conversation.’” But if that’s true, why did she simultaneously provide details about what was discussed? If all we did was take “a pic,” why did she accuse me of calling her lawyer “great” and mention that she “complemented” my skin? And why hasn’t she responded to my request for her to release the “security camera” footage from our meeting? Michael Avenatti accused me of stalking Daniels, who I’ve only been in the vicinity of once, for attending her public event. I’m not entirely sure why Daniels and Avenatti would act so defensively about what I might potentially write, but like Avenatti recently told CBS News, “It is thuggish behavior from people in power. And it has no place in American democracy.” Michael Avenatti is right, and I won’t be silenced by the intimidation tactics of him and Stormy Daniels.

My original story about meeting Stormy

I wanted to hate Stormy Daniels, but ultimately ended up feeling sorry for her.

We’ve seen her on 60 Minutes. She made a guest appearance on Saturday Night Live. She graced the cover of Penthouse as their “Penthouse Pet of the century” Now the adult film star is currently embarking on the “Make America Horny Again” tour in over 40 cities. Stormy Daniels has taken her decade-old consensual sex act with Donald Trump and used it to catapult her career to new heights. While the “resistance” embracing left and anti-Trump right seem entertained by the spectacle, many on both sides can see it for what it ultimately is: an opportunistic grab for fame and money.

Daniels has a pending lawsuit against President Trump, challenging the validity of their non-disclosure agreement. Insinuations were made that a $130K hush payment made to Daniels, essentially from Trump, was an FEC violation. Those claims don’t appear to have gained traction. As Daniels awaits the progression of her case, her attorney, Michael Avenatti, has been interviewed on cable news over 147 time in a 10 week period. During a lot of these interviews, discussion of his client’s case is traded in favor of drumming up foreign collusion conspiracies and attacking Trump’s legal team. So where does this leave Stormy Daniels? As I learned at the Stars Caberet club in Salem, Oregon last night, it leaves her writhing around a pole begging for cash.

When I read that Stormy Daniels would be performing in the area I live in, my curiosity was piqued. The notorious porn star that encouraged the president’s “resignation” on SNL was performing in my state? The adult film star whose lawyer is given over $175M in free media exposure? I wanted to see if Daniels was given the same recognition as Avenatti at her public appearances. That is unfortunately not the case. While Michael Avenatti gets Vanity Fair plugs about his Tom Ford suit collection and is seen taking pictures with CNN’s Don Lemon at fancy parties, Stormy Daniels is stripping for dollar bills in sleazy bars, peddling porn tapes and $20 photo ops. She even had a wallet thrown at her face during her first Oregon show, causing her to end it early. This is a far cry from the secure and respectable cable news studio sets her lawyer has become accustom to.

As I entered the venue to see the spectacle firsthand and possibly talk to Stormy Daniels about it all, she had just finished her first performance. I heard she would be staging a meet-and-greet shortly and mingled with other attendees while we waited for her to get dressed. No one there ultimately seemed to be at the show for political reasons. The people most eager to meet Daniels were legitimate fans of her work in porn. As a homosexual, I had no interest in seeing Stormy’s striptease or purchasing the x-rated merchandise she was selling. I was just curious to meet the woman who essentially seeks to take down the president of the United States. She was in my area after all.

A display, at the venue, promoting Stormy’s tour as a “presidential gal pal.”

As Stormy arrived, I waited in line to meet her. After paying $20 for a photo op, my turn came and we took a picture together. Then I seized the opportunity to politely ask her a few questions that I wanted answers to. The first being, “how did you meet your lawyer?”

I asked because I legitimately had a hard time finding an answer in any media reports. Michael Avenatti wouldn’t tell the Washington Post, which only emboldened my curiosity. I assumed Daniels would hesitate to answer the question, but she responded immediately. “I was introduced to him by another lawyer I was working with,” she said studying my face. I asked Stormy another question, knowing my time with her was ending. “Do you ever worry about challenging someone as powerful as the president?” She hesitated for a moment, appearing to think about her answer. “I’m not scared of him. I’m scared of his crazy fans,” Daniels said motioning towards her omnipresent security. Then she smirked at me. “You have nice skin. It’s not fair!” Flattered, I told her that I thought she was “great” for saying that, then proceeded to exit the meet-and-greet area. As I did, a friend I attended the venue with pointed out how generally unhappy Daniels looked to be there both while performing and meeting with fans.

Stormy continues to do porn at an age most actresses in the adult film industry have already retired by. Daniels’ television appearances are fleeting and her story regarding Trump can only go so far. Now she’s utilizing her notoriety as a thorn in the president’s side to execute a nationwide stripping tour and it’s going as can be expected. I initially wanted to hate Stormy Daniels for exploiting the president for her own personal gain, but ultimately ended up feeling sorry for her. While her lawsuit doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, she continues to be used by the “resistance,” anti-Trump right, and her own lawyer. She doesn’t appear to be ultimately affecting Donald Trump’s status as president and her lawyer has usurped her to become an aimless media darling. Meanwhile, Stormy Daniels is getting assaulted with inanimate objects while hustling for one dollar bills at her shows. We can look at the porn star and her questionable lawyer as two people with a valid claim against the president or we can see the truth: Stormy Daniels and Michael Avenatti are two shameless opportunists desperately trying to line their pockets using Donald Trump’s status as president. I can only hope the American people eventually get tired of letting them.

Stormy Daniels accepting the keys to the city of West Hollywood on May 23rd.

Update: After writing this, West Hollywood’s mayor declared May 23rd “Stormy Daniels Day,” bestowing her with a key to the city in honor of her anti-Trump efforts. The people clearly aren’t tired enough. However, I remain hopeful. When a porn star (who contributed nothing to the community) is honored by a city for waging a frivolous lawsuit against the president, it’ll only be a matter of time before people are exhausted by the ridiculousness of this spectacle.