Naomi Campbell has blamed the rumours about her links with several highly scandalous characters such as Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein on racism.
The supermodel told the Guardian in an interview published Saturday: “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?”
“Do me a f**king favour. I won’t sit there and roll over and take that s**. We all know what that’s about,” she said, before recalling the cases of footballer Raheem Sterling, racing driver Lewis Hamilton and tennis player Serena Williams.
While Campbell didn’t actually pronounce the word ‘racism’, it appears to be what she meant as all of the people she referred to are black celebrities who have come under the scrutiny of tabloids over various allegations.
Campbell, 49, landed in a similar situation after The Daily Mail in August published an article detailing a “hair-raising cast of characters” she has “sometimes rubbed shoulders with.”
These include Jeffrey Epstein, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and Mike Tyson. Epstein apparently took his life in August while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, Weinstein and Spacey have both seen their careers collapse over sexual assault allegations, and Tyson spent three years in prison after being convicted of rape.
Specifically, the article featured a photo of Campbell aboard a yacht in Cannes in 2001 next to a girl thought to be one of Epstein’s sex slaves, and cited court documents as saying that she had flown in Jeffrey Epstein’s private jet nicknamed the ‘Lolita Express’.
The Daily Mail story followed the announcement that Campbell would receive an award from the British Fashion Council for her contribution to the industry and her philanthropic work with charities.
Campbell described the article as a “distorted piece of journalist” and an Orwell-style “character assassination.” In a defiant video she posted to YouTube in August, she said she was introduced to Epstein on her 31st birthday by her former boyfriend Flavio Briatore, but stated that she did not know anything about his alleged wrongdoings.
Referring to Epstein, she said the revelations about his crimes “sickened me to my stomach just like everybody else”.
In the Guardian interview, Campbell also spoke about the aftershocks of the #MeToo movement in the fashion industry. She said she had never been subject to sexual abuse herself but sympathised with the victims anyway.
“I feel for their trauma, psychologically how it affects them,” she said. “But it never happened to me.”
“I didn’t see any of that shit, because thank God for my armour, my being called a bad bitch – I was lucky it never happened to me. I was protected by my angels Azzedine Alaïa, Gianni [Versace] and Yves Saint Laurent.”