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- Naomi Campbell brushed off her ties to accused sexual predators Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein as slanted reporting from the media.
- In an interview with the Guardian, the longtime supermodel responded to an August story run by the Mail on Sunday that said she has a history of keeping "very rum chums" with controversial and dangerous figures like Weinstein and Epstein.
- After the disgraced financier's arrest on sex trafficking charges and death in prison, Campbell has acknowledged running in the same circles as Epstein, but said she never personally witnessed behavior related to the allegations against him.
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Naomi Campbell brushed off her ties to accused sexual predators Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein as the press unfairly singling her out.
In an interview with The Guardian, Campbell responded to a story by the Mail On Sunday paper that claimed the longtime supermodel has a history of keeping "very rum chums" with figures like Weinstein and Epstein because they had been photographed together. Journalist Nosheen Iqbal told Campbell it "felt like a snide and unfair reach."
"Thank you!" says Campbell. "I've met thousands of people at events and been photographed with them – there are pictures of me with everyone. Are you going to single me out, when there are hundreds of people pictured with the same people, who you don't care to mention?"
After years of allegations against the former financier, federal prosecutors arrested Epstein on sex trafficking charges in July 2019. After his arrest, investigators and journalists pored over his wide network of high-profile connections and Campbell was identified as a previous passenger on Epstein's plane and called out over pictures with his alleged madame, Ghislaine Maxwell.
Though she has since acknowledged running in the same circles as Epstein, the model waved away the Mail's story as a targeted attack and similar to slanted reports that she says the publication has published on other black figures.
"Do me a f------ favour," Campbell said. "I won't sit there and roll over and take that s---. We all know what that's about… I've seen how they treat Raheem Sterling, how they speak about Lewis Hamilton and Serena Williams."
Pointing to the Duchess of Sussex's current suit against the Mail On Sunday for infringement of her privacy, Campbell said she doesn't "know how Meghan Markle deals with this and I'm really glad she's taken action to defend herself."
Epstein exploited his ties to the fashion industry
Campbell's comment in the Guardian is a more distanced characterization than she offered in a video response to the Mail story posted on her YouTube channel in August. In the video, she confirmed that she knew Epstein after she was introduced to him at her 31st birthday party by her ex-boyfriend Flavio Briatore and recognized him at being at the "front and center" of Victoria's Secret shows.
A July report from the New York Times reveals that, in May 1997, Epstein posed as a talent scout for the lingerie company owned by his close associate Les Wexner, in order to lure a model named Alicia Arden to his hotel room. The Times says that according to a Santa Monica Police report he told her to undress, groped her, and said he wanted to "manhandle" her.
The model never ended up booking anything with the company, which was later alerted to Epstein's behavior and left action up to Wexner.
"What he's done is indefensible, and when I heard what he had done, it sickened me to my stomach, just like everybody else," Campbell said. "I've had my fair share of sexual predators and thank god I had good people around me who protected me from this."
Epstein wasn't Campbell's only identified connection to a dark network of abuse. John Casablancas, the late founder of Elite Model Management, signed Campbell and her fellow supermodel legends like Linda Evangelista and Cindy Crawford early on in their careers, and sported a well-known track record of targeting and sleeping with teenage models.
The wealthy Casablancas was associated with figures like Epstein and now-President Donald Trump, who has fielded scores of sexual harassment and assault allegations over the years, but Campbell emphasized to the Guardian that she "didn't witness that behaviour."
Campbell repeated her familiarity with sexual predators who plagued the fashion industry while speaking to the Guardian, crediting her close relationships with high-profile designers, "my angels, Azzedine Alaïa, Gianni [Versace] and Yves Saint Laurent."
The fashion industry is rife with connections to both Weinstein and Epstein. The closest connection that has come into the interest of investigators is Epstein's association with Wexner, who was Epstein's only publicly known financial services client in a still-mysterious relationship.