Netflix has just released a four-part docuseries detailing the breadth of Jeffrey Epstein’s crimes against young women and girls as he ran an international sex trafficking ring. It's called Filthy Rich and it doesn't make for an easy watch.
In it, one of the most appalling revelations is the extensive network that Epstein utilised to carry out and conceal his crimes for decades before eventually being arrested in 2019. Not only were powerful men and staff complicit in Epstein’s crimes, many of the survivors — now adult women — name Epstein’s former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell as an active accomplice who is allegedly responsible for recruiting and grooming girls who would later be forced to have sex with Epstein and other influential men.
Epstein may no longer be able to be held accountable for his alleged crimes, but many are still looking to Maxwell to see her day in court and cop to the cache of secrets in which she is allegedly complicit. Filthy Rich centres on the stories of survivors as it chronicles the rampant abuse across Epstein’s multiple properties in New York, New Mexico, London, and his private island in the Virgin Islands. By regularly arranging opportunities for those in his circle to have sex with young women, Epstein was able to build an intricate web of blackmail and threats to keep the abhorrent arrangement from getting out. Maxwell reportedly has denied any involvement and maintains she is innocent of all accusations levied against her, but the 2,000 pages of detailed accounts unsealed by a New York court in 2019 paint a very different picture.
Maxwell is a British socialite who, upon moving to the United States, ran in influential circles including people connected to politics. In a report from The Guardian, Maxwell’s social standing and connections appear unparalleled. She is seen in photos alongside President Donald Trump, Michael Bloomberg, and Elon Musk among many others. She reportedly knew members of the Kennedy family, was close to Bill Clinton, and was connected to the British royal family through Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson. Maxwell and Epstein reportedly dated in the '90s, but remained close friends after splitting up. In a 2003 Vanity Fair profile, Epstein described Maxwell as his best friend. Maxwell introduced Epstein to many of the social figures in his life and allegedly found ways to connect Epstein and other high-profile people with underage girls and young women, reports CNN.
“From what we know, Ghislaine Maxwell was a principal enabler to Jeffrey Epstein when he was alive,” lawyer Dan Kaiser alleged to The Guardian in December 2019. Kaiser is representing Jennifer Araoz, one of the women who says she was raped by Epstein. Kaiser claims Maxwell played an integral role in maintaining the sex trafficking ring: “She provided important administrative services in terms of the hiring of recruiters, and management of those employees, the making of appointments and dates for interactions between Mr. Epstein and the underage girls that were providing sexual services to him. She also maintained the ring by intimidating girls, by ensuring their silence.”
After Epstein was convicted on one count of soliciting an underage girl for prostitution in 2008 — for which he served 13 months of an 18-month prison sentence, largely on day release — Maxwell reportedly began retreating from public view and was no longer seen in public with Epstein. The last time Maxwell was sighted in public was in August 2019 in Los Angeles about a month after Epstein’s death. Since then, her whereabouts have been the subject of intense scrutiny because lawyers for women who survived Epstein’s alleged abuse are unable to pursue legal action beyond a certain point. According to court records, Maxwell’s lawyers have declined to accept service of new lawsuits on behalf of Maxwell claiming they have not been authorised to do so. Investigations have shown that Maxwell has sold her former residences in New York and London. To date, she has not been criminally charged, reports The Guardian.
In March 2020, Maxwell sued Epstein’s estate seeking to recoup legal fees she has accrued defending herself against claims that she recruited and groomed women for Epstein. In a complaint filed with the U.S. Virgin Islands superior court, Maxwell said she had “no involvement in or knowledge of Epstein’s alleged misconduct.”
Authorities reportedly don’t know where Maxwell is, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t on their radar. “Let me assure you that case will continue on against anyone who was complicit with Epstein,” Attorney General William Barr said in August 2019 before adding that “any co-conspirators should not rest easy.”
Filthy Rich is now streaming on Netflix.