Scottish actress Louise Linton, the fiancée of Donald Trump’s pick for Treasury Secretary, sparked fury earlier this year over a controversial and mendacious “memoir” about her hellish gap year in Africa.
Linton, 35, became a source of international ridicule following the publication of her book, In Congo’s Shadow: One Girl’s Perilous Journey to the Heart of Africa, in which she describes saving the lives of many poor African orphans and having “close encounters with lions, elephants, crocodiles and snakes” while volunteering in Zambia in the 1990s. The book was panned as a delusional, racist and factually inaccurate “white savior” tale, full of stereotypes.
In it, she recalls having to hide from Hutu militiamen, and claims (inaccurately) that the Hutu-Tutsi conflict in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo had spilled over to Zambia and threatened the village were she was living:
“I tried not to think what the rebels would do to the ‘skinny white muzungu [foreigner] with long angel hair’ if they found me”, she wrote.
“Smirking men with deadened eyes would brutalize me before casting me aside like a rag doll.”
“Clenching my jaw to stop my teeth chattering, I squeezed my eyes shut and reminded myself how I’d come to be a central character in this horror story.”
In another cringeworthy passage, she remembers “a smiling gap-toothed child with HIV whose greatest joy was to sit on my lap and drink from a bottle of Coca-Cola.”
After an excerpt appeared in the Telegraph, Linton immediately came under fire for her “clichéd” depictions of poverty and danger. Critics took to Twitter under the hashtag #LintonLies to poke holes in her stories. The criticism became so intense that Linton pulled the book from Amazon, where she had self-published it earlier in the year.
— Muchemwa Sichone (@WriteRevolt) July 4, 2016
— jkn4short (@jay_nyendwa) July 4, 2016
This wouldn’t be so much of an issue if Linton—who reportedly accompanied her husband on the Trump campaign plane where she read Trump’s foreign policy speeches and boasted about it on Instagram—hadn’t nearly provoked a diplomatic incident with her egregious claims.
In July, Zambia’s High Commission in London called Linton out for “tarnishing the image of a very peaceful and friendly country” in her “falsified” memoir, and the Association of African Journalists and Writers asked the Telegraph to retract Linton’s “false and stereotypical article of Zambia and Africa.”
Having since retreated from public life (all her social accounts are now private) Linton—who has been Mnuchin’s companion since he separated from Heather Crosby, a Goldman Sachs director, in 1999—is focusing on her acting career.
You’ll be able to catch her in Warren Beatty’s new flick, the apply-titled Rules Don’t Apply.
And should the President-elect need a memoirist, he’ll know where to look.