Naomi Campbell opens up about Jeffrey Epstein, says she's 'sickened' by crimes

Cydney Henderson, USA TODAY

Naomi Campbell is breaking her silence on her association with the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

The supermodel shared a YouTube video Tuesday in response to a Daily Mail article that questioned her ties to Epstein, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and a "hair-raising cast of characters" with "dubious and in some cases bloodthirsty reputations." 

During the sit-down interview with an unidentified, off-screen reporter, Campbell, 49, acknowledged that she's "not a saint" and "a work in progress."

"But I will not be held hostage by my past," she continued. 

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Naomi Campbell is speaking out against a Daily Mail article she calls a

The supermodel explained that she met the notorious financier nearly two decades ago.

"Yes, I knew him," she said of Epstein, who apparently took his own life on Aug. 10 in a federal detention center in New York while awaiting trial on new sex-trafficking charges. "I was introduced to him on my 31st birthday by my ex-boyfriend Flavio (Briatore). He was always front and center at Victoria’s Secret fashion shows.”

Despite rubbing shoulders with Epstein – who she called one of the "hundreds of thousands of people that I've stood next to to take a picture" – Campbell said she was unaware of Epstein's alleged crimes at the time.

"What he’s done is indefensible," she said. "When I heard what he had done, it sickened me to my stomach, just like everybody else, because I’ve had my fair share of sexual predators and thank God I had good people around who protected me from this."

The model continued: "I stand with the victims. … They’re scarred for life. For life."

Campbell slammed the Daily Mail article as a "direct character assassination" and "distorted piece of journalism" aimed to discredit her humanitarian efforts.

The British Fashion Council is honoring Campbell in December with the Fashion Icon Award for her philanthropic work through her charity, Fashion for Relief.

"I’m not going to stop – and I won’t be undermined or have my team be undermined for all the wonderful and great work” they’ve done, Campbell said.  

She ended the video with a statement, reading: "The frightening conclusion here is that if the negative action of your neighbor, colleague or even an associate can somehow make you guilty, too, simply by association, then we indeed live in very worrying times. This affects us all. It’s wrong, it’s unfair and it must be stopped."

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Naomi Campbell addresses her ties to Jeffrey Epstein