It’s the nose, really. The thin bridge and bulbous tip, the way it flares out suddenly at the nostrils. And the eyes, too, differing in color but conveying a similar spirit within their puffy pistachio shapes—playful and mischievous, as if laughing at a rumor that isn’t totally outside the realm of possibility.
Article by Olivia Nuzzi
For 24 years, on certain corners of the Internet and in the flimsy pages of certain supermarket tabloids, Bill Clinton and Danney Williams have been pictured side-by-side as proof of the conspiracy that they’re father and son.
Plausible enough, knowing what we know about ol’ Bubba.
In 1998, Bolton—the woman who raised Clinton’s alleged love child—started talking to Newsmax, the conservative website founded that year by Christopher Ruddy, a former New York Post reporter.Newsmax reported that George Stephanopoulos, the Clintons’ one-time communications director, had used threatening tactics to kill the story. When I asked Stephanopoulos about this in 2016, he referred me to a spokesperson for ABC, who asked me to provide the text of the Newsmax report. Neither Stephanopoulos or his spokesperson ever responded.
Bolton claimed to have talked to Hillary herself and she said she wanted Clinton to take a DNA test. In January 1999, the Drudge Report ran with the news that Star magazine, another tabloid, claimed it’d conducted one, using the analysis of Clinton’s DNA published by Kenneth Starr in the impeachment report and samples they’d taken from Danney, by then 13, and Bobbie.
“The story of Bobbie Ann Williams and her child Danney hit world media and rocked the White House this week after it was revealed that STAR MAGAZINE and ace investigative reporter Richard Gooding have exclusively signed Williams and his family to a paternity showdown,” Drudge said.
Jay Leno took the opportunity to needle Clinton in his monologue. “Allegedly there might be a 13-year-old Bill Clinton in Arkansas,” he said. “Well, we already have a 16-year-old Bill Clinton in the Oval Office.”
A few days later, several mainstream media outlets—the New York Daily News and The Mirror (U.K.), The Washington Times—cleared Clinton with headlines like “CLINTON NO JEFFERSON, LOVE CHILD NOT HIS” and “CLINTON IS NOT DAD OF HOOKER’S BOY, 13.” But those who believe the conspiracy weren’t put off, since, as Slate concluded at the time, it’d be impossible to determine if Clinton was Danney’s father based only on the “imprecise” data provided by the FBI and Starr.
Williams wouldn’t resurface again until 2013, when The Globe conducted another interview with him. Then 27, with a large crucifix tattooed on his bicep, the resemblance to Clinton was much as it had been when he was a toddler: easiest to see while squinting, and best from certain angles.
“I read he doesn’t have long to live and I want to meet him face to face before he dies,” Williams said. “I just want to shake his hand and say ‘Hi Dad,’ before he dies. I’d like to have a relationship with Chelsea, too. She’s my half-sister.”
On social media, he collected a few thousand followers. He called himself the #ClintonKid. He posted a video on YouTube, to “thank y’all for supporting me and following me—and I am real,” he said in a deep, sleepy voice, “and I am Danney Williams, thank you.”
Anti-Clinton activists were happy to engage, of course.
Some linked to StormFront, the premiere white pride website for people who can’t spell, where an article had been published, titled, “Clinton’s Fanaticism for Race-Mixing Linked to His Having a Black Son.”
Others were content to tweet about how Hillary had “banished” Danney from the governor’s mansion. On May 13, @TheSaintsWatch, a Donald Trump supporter, tweeted, “Did #HandCuffHillary discard Bill Clinton’s illegitimate black son? Who’s Danny Williams? …stay tuned folks. #MAGA”
Much of these flames have been stoked, naturally, by the authors of The Clintons’ War on Women, Roger Stone—a longtime Trump adviser—and Robert Morrow, a full-time conspiracy theorist.
In February, I sat down in Des Moines with Morrow, who admitted he had never met Danney, to talk about the story. “They made it up!” he said of Starmagazine’s DNA test. “It’s Clinton-disinfo. It’s a planted story—a fake planted story. There was no DNA test. Prove it! Where? Danney don’t know about it.Star magazine didn’t know about. Stone talks to the current people who own those magazines [and] they say, ‘what are you talking about?’”
I began reaching out to Danney to arrange an interview. At the very least, I wanted to know what it was like to grow up in the tabloids, with those closest to you telling you you’re the illegitimate son of the leader of the free world. If nothing else it must make for interesting cocktail party fodder. But mostly, I wanted to see what would happen if I treated this like any other story rather than a carnival sideshow fit only for the supermarket checkout aisle.
On Facebook message, Danney asked for my contact information and said he’d reach out “soon.”
About a month went by, during which time Danney told me that his step-dad passed away. “It’s painful,” he said, “because he stepped up to be my father when my father chose to run. I won’t be available today to due to (sic) this unfortunate event.”
He never did call, though he provided the name of his attorney: George Gates. Every lawyer by that name who I reached, however, had never heard Danney’s name—though one of them was extremely amused.
Then, Danney agreed to provide Gates’s phone number—but this time Danney referred to him as “Gio Gates.”
“He serves as my media agent, so all media contact has to go through him,” Danney said.
Gates never returned multiple calls and voicemails.
I was able to establish, via public records, that Robert “Say” McIntosh, Bobbie Ann Williams, and Lucille Bolton do exist.
But calls to McIntosh’s sweet potato pie restaurant, Say McIntosh Restaurant on West 7th Street in Little Rock, went unanswered.
As did calls to every number listed for Williams and Bolton.
Thanks to video footage and an active social media life, it was at least clear that Danney, like he said on YouTube, is Danney Williams. The woman who answered the phone at his high school, McCellan Magnet in Little Rock, confirmed his attendance and even said she recalled hearing that Clinton’s kid went to the school. She couldn’t provide names of any of Danney’s teachers or classmates, however. She said it’d been too long.
The Arkansas Department of Health informed me that to view Danney’s birth certificate, I’d need to mail in his written consent. Danney didn’t reply when I asked if he’d provide that.
And that’s as far as I got. Danney Williams, as he says, is real. Everything past that remains in the rabbithole—the provenance of the supermarket tabloids and professional rumor peddlers.
Read more at: thedailybeast.com