Naomi Campbell has spoken out to defend herself after it emerged she had met convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein at a party several years ago.
The British supermodel was introduced to the financier, who died by suicide on 10 August, at her 31st birthday party back in 2001.
An article in the Mail on Sunday questioned Naomi’s ties to Epstein amid the sex abuse claims against him, prompting her to clarify her association.
In a YouTube video released on Wednesday, the 49-year-old model and philanthropist takes part in a sit-down interview with a reporter, who is off-screen, to answer a series of questions about her ties to Epstein.
The supermodel said: ‘I’ve always said, “I’m not a saint, I’m a work in progress”, but I will not be held hostage by my past…
‘This is a direct character assassination and it belongs in, like, an Orwell book.’
Addressing her first meeting with the financier 18 years ago, Naomi explained: ‘Yes I knew him. I was introduced to him on my 31st birthday by my ex-boyfriend Flavio [Briatore]. He was always front and centre at Victoria’s Secret shows.’
Epstein is accused of having ‘sex slaves’ who were aged as young as teenagers. At the time of his death, he was facing 45 years in prison in relation to sex trafficking underage girls across his properties in New York and Florida in the early 2000s.
Denying knowledge of Epstein’s sex crimes, Naomi said: ‘What he’s done is indefensible.
‘And when I had 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, just like everybody else.’
She added: ‘And thank God that I had good people around me that protected me from this. Right now I stand with the victims. I can’t… they’re scarred for life. For life.’
During the interview, Naomi emphasised the philanthropic work of her charity Fashion For Relief, which she co-founded in 2005 and stated: ‘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].’
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