CW: Sexual assault
Naomi Campbell is indisputably one of the most popular and well-respected supermodels of all time. Despite her infamous string of criminal activities, including eleven assault allegations and her possession of a blood diamond, Campbell has continued to reap the benefits which her celebrity profile grants her. A renowned icon, many admire her outspokenness, confidence and strong will, as she has navigated her way masterfully through the brutal world of fashion.
Shockingly, she is guilty of assaulting various ex-assistants, as well as committing public disrespect, when she paraded through the streets of New York wearing a $300,000 Dolce and Gabbana dress while serving community service at the New York Department of Sanitation.
Perhaps her most scandalous, yet least scrutinised public act of disgrace is her close involvement with sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell and convicted paedophile Jeffry Epstein.
Campbell is featured in countless photos with Maxwell and Epstein as well as on occasion, with Virginia Roberts Giuffre, the girl who was allegedly forced by Maxwell to have sex with Prince Andrew when she was just 17 years old.
She also featured in Maxwells infamous “little black book”, which included contact details for an impressive array of celebrity companions, such as Prince Andrew, Donald Trump and Bill Clinton. Her name also appeared in the flight logs of Epstein’s private jet, ‘the Lolita express’ on a visit to his estate in the U.S. Virgin Islands where many of the young girls were groomed.
Though many of Maxwell’s close acquaintances have faced severe media backlash for their suspected or actual involvement in the Epstein scandal, Campbell has seemingly got away scot-free.
Although there is a lack of concrete evidence to suggest that Campbell had any role facilitating interactions between young girls and the likes of Prince Andrew and Epstein, or that she even knew what was happening, it is surprising that there has been such a lack of inquiry into the extent of her involvement.
Virginia Roberts Giuffre has claimed numerous times that she suspects Naomi Campbell knew exactly what was going on. Giuffres exposed Campbell on her Twitter account in April 2020, writing “She was Maxwell’s BFF. There is no way in hell she didn’t know what was happening in front of her own eyes”.
In an interview on Campbell’s own YouTube channel in 2019, she told an interviewer, “What he’s done (Epstien) is indefensible and when I heard it, it sickened me to my stomach, just like everybody else”. She teared up as she continued,
“I’ve had my fair share of sexual predators and thank god I had good people around me that protected me from this.
“Right now I stand with the victims. They are scarred for life”.
It is obvious that Giuffre is unconvinced by her claim to naivety – in another post, she shared various photos of herself with Campbell, Epstein and Maxwell, with the caption “You saw me at your parties, you saw me in Epstein’s homes, you saw me on the plane, you saw me get my haircut, you saw me on the streets, you watched me be abused. You saw me!”. Many on Twitter believe that Naomi Campbell waived the chance to protect Epstein’s victims by not using her voice as a public figure.
Virginia Roberts Giuffre’s allegations against Campbell do not seem to have significantly changed the public perception of her. When speaking to students at the University of Edinburgh, none were aware of any connection between her and Epstein or Maxwell. The common response was “I love her” and “she’s iconic”. It seems wrong to hold Campbell in such high regard after her various scandals, especially this one.
Only Campbell herself knows can answer to the extent of her involvement. But it is crucial that, just because she is a popular and well respected celebrity, her friendship with Maxwell is not assumed to be innocent. Currently the allegations of Naomi’s involvement are based solely on speculation. But, as put by Stop Child Predators on Twitter: “Naomi needs to say what she knows. It’s never too late to stand up for survivors”.
Campbell herself shared the view that it is too easy to become guilty by association, which she feels applies to her alleged involvement in the Epstein scandal. She shared at the end of her YouTube video,
“The frightening conclusion here is that if the negative action of your neighbour, colleague or even 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”.
Yet she also admitted that she is “not a saint. I am a work in progress, but I will not be held hostage by my past”. Through her various high profile scandals and parading around her controversies, it doesn’t appear that Naomi Campbell really cares what is thought of her. It does not appear that Naomi Campbell has learned from her past mistakes, and many believe that she is yet to admit her wrongdoings regarding her involvement with Epstein. As Giuffre said: “She didn’t go at any length to hide it.”