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Actual German headline: “Ist Donald Trump ein Sexmonster?"

Zack Beauchamp is a senior correspondent at Vox, where he covers ideology and challenges to democracy, both at home and abroad. Before coming to Vox in 2014, he edited TP Ideas, a section of Think Progress devoted to the ideas shaping our political world.

This is an actual headline about the US election, published in the German tabloid Bild on Friday. It translates to: “Is Donald Trump a sex monster?”


The word “sexmonster” sounds pretty hilarious, and in some contexts it can be. According to one native speaker consulted for this story, calling your significant other a sex monster is a compliment, for reasons I’m sure you can figure out. But when you call a stranger that, it’s saying they act monstrously about sex: that they are a “triebtäter,” or sex offender. That’s what is going on in this headline.

Bild doesn't give an answer to its own question; the piece under the headline is mostly a rundown of the allegations rather an attempt to draw conclusions about whether they’re true. But the fact that it's even asking the question is revealing enough.

When Americans elect a president, they’re not just picking a chief executive or role model at home: They are picking the person who represents their country to the rest of the world. Whoever voters choose for the top office is America’s public face to the world.

Electing Donald Trump would send a clear signal: The American people want to be led by a man who has been credibly accused of sexual assault by 11 different women. That this is the person who is best suited to represent their values and beliefs as a country. That this, world, is what America is about.

The Bild headline shows how this looks to the rest of the world, in very stark terms. People elsewhere watch the past week of reporting, and wonder: “Do Americans really want a sex monster for their president?”

Emily Crockett contributed German-language reporting to this piece.