PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. — Alexandra Datig, the former fiancee and longtime radio producer for California GOP gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder, says she broke off an 18-month engagement with the conservative talk show host in 2015 after he waved a gun at her while high on marijuana.
Datig’s claim, which she regards as the culmination of a series of humiliating disputes that made her fearful for her safety and her ability to maintain her sobriety, comes as Elder has gained momentum in the recall to replace Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, with many observers counting him as the likeliest GOP alternative should voters decide to replace the incumbent.
But little is known about Elder’s personal life. Datig portrayed him as a marijuana user who would often become threatening or insistent with her, including in his repeated demands that she get a “Larry’s Girl” tattoo to show her devotion to him.
The alleged incident occurred in the midst of a heated conversation as their relationship was unraveling, according to Datig. “He was in the bedroom, and I was standing by the door,” she said. “We talked to each other.’’ He became silent, she said, and then slowly “walked over to the nightstand, opened the door, took out the gun,’’ a .45 pistol.
“And he checked if it was loaded — while I was talking,’’ she said. “He wanted to make sure I saw that he had it.”
“It was an act of silent scorn — and anger,’’ she said.
“For a minute there … I thought it was a Phil Spector moment,’’ Datig said, referencing the famed Hollywood record producer who shot and killed actress Lana Clarkson in his Hollywood mansion in 2003. “My fear was great, and I understood I needed to de-escalate.”
At that point, “he was threatening to throw me out on the street … and rather than answer back or throw something, I tried to use every tool I had in recovery… I just walked out,’’ she said. “I locked myself into the bedroom downstairs.’’
Elder and his spokesperson Ying Ma did not respond to requests for comment on their personal email and campaign email.
Elder’s attitude toward women has been a major issue in the campaign, with both Newsom and GOP rivals flagging a two-decade-old column in which he wrote, “Women know less than men about political issues, economics, and current events.”
Datig, 51, became well known in Los Angeles in the 1990s as a leading witness and informant in the prosecution of Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss. Datig described being paid $10,000 per day and getting First Class air travel as one of the women who worked in Fleiss’s network. She has subsequently spoken out strongly against human trafficking.
Datig said she first met Elder, who is now 69, at a party at the Playboy Mansion in the early 2000s, though their relationship did not begin until long after. The two became engaged in 2013 before Datig broke off the relationship in 2015, fearing for her safety. She said he pressured her to sign a non-disclosure agreement after being informed by Elder’s assistant that “all Larry’s girlfriends did,’’ she said, in an interview with POLITICO. She complied, saying she was “terrified … and I ran for my life.’’
POLITICO has obtained copies of the NDA and separation agreement between Elder and Datig.
Despite the NDA agreement, Datig chose to speak to POLITICO, saying there is “too much at stake” in the California recall election. A conservative blogger and political commentator who writes and edits the Front Page Index political website, Datig has endorsed one of Elder’s GOP rivals, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.
Datig’s official bio notes that her work with Elder has included “producing over 100 shows of the now nationally syndicated Larry Elder Show,’’ helping to boost his show to the top spot on a major global webcasting platform.
Datig says she also created The Elder Statement blog, helping it boost its circulation to more than 3 million views in its first year, while also mounting a successful campaign on Elder’s behalf which helped him secure a coveted nomination star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Datig described meeting the ambitious talk show host in the early 2000s at bacchanalian parties populated by Hollywood celebrities like rapper Snoop Dogg and hosted by publisher Hugh Hefner at the Playboy Mansion in the Holmby Hills section of Los Angeles.
Elder, who has since taken to broadcasting in a robe a la Hefner in YouTube segments called “Robe Rage,” was “an A-lister’’ at the gatherings, Datig said. In one home video she provided to POLITICO, Elder brags about his relationship with Snoop Dogg, saying, “I introduced him to the evil weed… I taught him everything he knows…I’m the one who made him what he is, I can’t believe he turned his back on me, motherfucker.”
Datig said she moved in with him in 2013, entering what she describes as a wild and ultimately destructive relationship that she broke it off after 18 months. She was still producing his shows and assisting with efforts to get him a coveted Walk of Fame star because “I didn’t want to take a wrecking ball to his career,” she said. But “my sobriety was at stake.”
Growing up in Switzerland around guns with a conservative father, Datig said that she has always been a strong Second Amendment supporter. But she shudders remembering her encounter with a gun-wielding Elder in early 2015 during their ugly breakup.
“I was raised that you never use a gun in anger, and you don’t use it when you’re drunk or you’re high to make a point in frustration — which is what he did,’’ said Datig, who says Elder was a heavy consumer of marijuana and was under the influence.
Earlier in the relationship, Datig said, she was pressured repeatedly by Elder to get a tattoo declaring her to be “Larry’s Girl’’ — and even urged her to design one which included the Superman logo.
She agreed to get it — after he said he would get an accompanying tattoo declaring his love for her, she said. “He never did,’’ she said.
And she didn’t speak up when a large nude portrait of her with the tattoo on her lower back was displayed in their home for visitors to see, Datig said.
Datig provided that photo to POLITICO, and today, said she deeply regrets the decision to give in to his demand and has tried to get the tattoo removed.
As a former victim of human trafficking and the sex trade, she said, she now realizes it was a kind of “branding,’’ not unlike the same marks that traffickers often demand.
She said some of Elder’s past public comments on women have revealed his true attitude toward them.
“When you’re a celebrity, you have women throwing themselves at you all the time and you have a different experience … you develop a sense of disrespect,” she said.
Datig, a longtime Los Angeles political activist, is no stranger to the rough and tumble Southern California politics — or even to human trafficking. She served as a longtime executive assistant to former L.A. Councilmember and state legislator Nate Holden— and also mounted an unsuccessful recall attempt aimed at Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2019.
She told POLITICO she is reluctant to take the spotlight again and be tagged as “the woman who turned in Heidi Fleiss,’’ as “an ex-hooker,’’ when her troubles and personal struggles of decades ago have long been put behind her.
But she also took to Twitter to declare: “I am calling on the voters of California to tell Larry Elder to let me out of my NDA! There are no secrets in politics! Voters have the right to know the truth! @LarryElder is unfit to serve in an official capacity! Tell him you want to know why!”
As California voters consider their vote in the consequential recall candidate, she said she was moved to give Faulconer her endorsement and her web followers some guidance regarding in the current recall election because “the state of California is on the line.”
Both Faulconer’s campaign and Datig said she had no role in his campaign. The Newsom campaign also said that it has no link to Datig.
“No. I am not being paid by anyone,” she said. “I am doing this because I care about California.”
“It’s about ability and capacity — and I don’t think Larry has the ability or capacity,’’ she added. She backs the recall but warns “Gavin Newsom is the devil you know. Larry Elder is the devil you think you know.”
“Larry Elder is a brand,’’ she said, “but If Larry Elder becomes the governor of the state of California, it will be a disaster.’’