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Naomi Campbell addresses her Jeffrey Epstein connection



· Naomi Campbell took to her Youtube channel to address photos which resurfaced showing the model partying with Jeffrey Epstein, his alleged madam Ghislaine Maxwell and what appears to be then-17 year-old Virginia Giuffre, who says she was held as a sex slave by Epstein. The photos were taken on a yacht in Saint Tropez at Naomi's 31st birthday party in 2001
· In short, Naomi described the Mail on Sunday's piece about the photos as "character assassination." The article came after it was announced Naomi would be receiving an award for her charity work


interviewer: Thank you for sitting down with me, Naomi, and let me talk to you today. But I'm not happy about the subject. I've known you for some time so I know it's important to hear your point of view on the Mail on Sunday. How do you feel?
Naomi: I was shocked by this article in Mail on Sunday. I've always said that I'm not a saint, that I am a work in progress but I will not be held hostage by my past. Fashion for Relief [?] is something that came to my mind in 2005. We started with Hurricane Katrina; we've helped the floods in Japan; we worked with a great association, Save the Children; worked with Sarah Brown, the former Prime Minister's wife, Gordon Brown's wife; White Ribbon Alliance, maternal health, ebola crisis, the floods in UK, I mean, it goes on. 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 and for all the people that have collaborated and supported the cause that Fashion for Relief chooses each year.
interviewer: Why would anyone be surprised to hear that you're being honored as a humanitarian?
Naomi: I mean, it was again very disappointing to hear and to see the way they wrote about that, to focus on the negative and say this is a vanity charity. There's no vanity about it.
interviewer: Do you think it's fair to draw you in to the Charles Taylor when you were only a witness? After all, the picture they used clearly shows someone cropped from it. Presume that was President Mandela?
Naomi: Yes, I do think it's unfair. For me, it's a distorted piece of journalism - and I do love great journalism - but this is a direct character assassination, and it belongs in like an Orwell book.
interviewer: If a story like this doesn't take into account the person being interviewed, does it then become fake news?
Naomi: Well it's pretty one-sided. And I, you know, don't want to get into that phrase but I feel if you don't give the person the chance to speak for themself and respond, I mean this is a pretty established newspaper, you should give the person the right to respond to what your allegations are.
interviewer: The paper does manage make it clear you are not aware of Epstein activities. Did you know who he was?
Naomi: Yes, I knew him. I was introduced to him on my 31st birthday by my ex-boyfriend Flavio. He was always front & center at Victoria's Secret shows
interviewer: Did you suspect what he was doing?
Naomi: No. And what he's done is indefensible and when I heard what he'd done, it sickened me to my stomach just like everybody else because I've had my fair share of sexual predators and thank God that I had good people around me that protected me from this. I mean, right now I stand with the victims, it's - I can't - they're scarred for life. For life.
interviewer: How many people do you think you've "rubbed shoulders" with, as the Mail on Sunday put it?
Naomi: I've "rubbed shoulders" with hundreds or hundreds of thousands of people. I mean, I find it extraordinary that of all the hundreds of thousands of people that I've stood next to to take a picture at a public event, they've only chosen these few. It's going to be very difficult to be photographed at public events because you're going to think if you do take a picture it's going to be taken out of context and used in a negative way, so it's going to be sad for everybody.
interviewer: Has this article made you think differently about the state of journalism today? And did you think this one-sided way of reporting could then be considered sinister?
Naomi: Yes, I do. I mean, as I've said, I've met some great journalists and writers and done some great interviews over the years. If anyone who saw me do Newsnight with Emily, I mean, they were tough questions and I don't mind being asked tough questions and strong questions. What Emily did was stand-up journalism. That's an example for me as a stand-up journalist - straight forward, tough questions and I was happy to answer them. I cannot put this in the same boat and say "this is journalism," especially as I was not given a chance to respond. It's not what I would have expected.
interviewer: What would your conclusion be about this article?
Naomi: Let's call it for what it is: This is a character assassination and we can all read between the lines and know why they keep coming at me but I will not lay down and let that happen.
Naomi (voiceover): The frightening conclusion here is that if 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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Tags: interview, naomi campbell, scandal
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