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Many outlets have been rightly concentrating on how the renewed focus on Jeffrey Epstein’s crimes will affect various political figures, including Donald Trump, members of the Trump cabinet, various congressmen and Bill Clinton. But it’s worth noting that Epstein’s tentacles reached into Hollywood too. The Hollywood Reporter did a fascinating and disturbing article about how Epstein was still around Hollywood players and Hollywood events, even after his 2008 plea deal and house-arrest. Some highlights:
On March 20, 2016, guests at Warner Bros.’ Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice premiere in New York began whispering about one man mingling among the A-list crowd. No, it wasn’t the film’s Ben Affleck or Henry Cavill, or Affleck’s hulking bodyguard, who almost knocked over the studio’s former marketing head Sue Kroll as the VIP area became too crowded. The surprised looks were aimed at Jeffrey Epstein, who was being introduced to guests by New York society doyenne Peggy Siegal. When a Warners executive was asked at the time how a highly recognizable level-three registered sex offender landed the hottest ticket in town, the executive offered no comment.
…After serving a 13-month sentence and a subsequent year of house arrest in Palm Beach, Florida, Epstein in late 2010 hosted a dinner party in honor of his friend Prince Andrew at his 71st Street mansion in New York. Among the 15 to 20 guests, the New York Post reported at the time, were Katie Couric, Charlie Rose, Woody Allen, Chelsea Handler and George Stephanopoulos. (A source close to Couric tells THR it was her first and last encounter with Epstein.) Lasagna was served, and Epstein led his guests on a tour of the house; he was wearing jeans and velvet Stubbs & Wootton slippers. Multiple sources say the event was organized by Siegal, who presented it as an opportunity to meet the prince at the largest single-family dwelling in New York City. Given that it was less than two months after Kate Middleton and Prince William’s engagement, interest in the royals was running high. Multiple guests who now decline to speak on the record noted the optics of attending such an event did not raise an eyebrow, in part because the invite came from Siegal. Siegal declined comment.
Even in the post-#MeToo era, Epstein, 66, frequently attended industry events, like the Gotham Awards in November 2017. Amid a climate where figures including Harvey Weinstein and CBS’ Leslie Moonves had instantly become persona non grata for alleged misconduct, Epstein had been convicted and still enjoyed film-world access. As he traveled behind the velvet rope with ease, his alleged co-conspirator Ghislaine Maxwell was also embraced. At the time of Epstein’s conviction, Maxwell was not charged thanks to a highly controversial nonprosecution agreement.
Despite well-publicized claims that she wrangled teen girls for Epstein and partook in sexual abuse, Maxwell in recent years has been spotted at top-tier awards-season parties in New York and Los Angeles, where she hobnobbed with a pre-scandal Weinstein, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. She even attended the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar bash, posing with the magazine’s editor, Graydon Carter. (Writer Vicky Ward on July 8 accused him of neutering her 2003 profile of Epstein by cutting out on-the-record accusations by two sisters who claimed Epstein sexually assaulted them, one of whom was 16 at the time of the alleged incident. Carter stated recently that he did not “have confidence” in Ward’s reporting.)
Epstein’s little black book, which became part of the public record after his first arrest, contains a who’s who of entertainment figures. In 2015, Gawker published the flight logs from Epstein’s jet, which showed that Kevin Spacey, Chris Tucker and such powerful players as Bill Clinton and investor Ron Burkle took one flight to Africa. A source close to Burkle says he was invited by Clinton, assumed the ride was vetted and flew home on a commercial jet after finding Epstein to be “creepy.”
[From The Hollywood Reporter]
THR notes that much like all of the high-profile abusers who have been outed in the #MeToo era, Epstein’s high-profile connections and money meant that he was virtually untouchable legally and he was still welcomed to many social events. How gross it is that there were women acting as enablers and co-conspirators to abuse too – it reminds me a lot of the Harvey Weinstein situation, all of it. The biggest difference is that Weinstein preferred to prey on and abuse women above the age of 18. Epstein preyed on, abused and psychologically tortured children. The result was the same, regardless of the victimology: both men were hidden in plain sight.
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