Who is Ghislaine Maxwell, and why is she absent from Netflix's Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich?
Warning: this article touches on subject matter that some readers may find distressing
Throughout Netflix’s new documentary series Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich, there is one other person who is repeatedly mentioned by the survivors of Epstein’s sexual abuse: Ghislaine Maxwell.
The survivors accuse Maxwell – who has been described as Epstein’s companion or girlfriend in the press – of recruiting girls for Epstein (often, to begin with, as masseuses) and sometimes being present during and participating in the abuse at his homes in New York, Palm Beach and the Caribbean.
However, Ghislaine Maxwell has not spoken about Epstein, isn’t interviewed for the documentary and the only comment from her about the accusations is a statement shown on screen at the end of each episode: “Ghislaine Maxwell denies all allegations against her.”
So, who is Ghislaine Maxwell, what was her involvement with Epstein – and why wasn’t she interviewed for the documentary?
Who is Ghislaine Maxwell?
The first question is the easiest to answer. Ghislaine is the youngest daughter of the late, disgraced media mogul Robert Maxwell, and was born in France on December 25th, 1961. She spent most of her childhood at Maxwell’s mansion, Headington Hill Hall, in Oxfordshire, before attending university at Oxford.
In the 1980s, she was an active part of the London social scene while also working for her father’s various businesses that included Oxford United Football Club, and the Mirror Group newspapers. However, when Robert Maxwell died in 1991 – he drowned in the waters off the Canary Islands, where he had been aboard his yacht, the Lady Ghislaine – she moved to New York where she was quickly accepted into the city’s elite social circles, mixing with the Clintons (she was a guest at Chelsea Clinton’s wedding in 2010), Donald Trump, and Prince Andrew to name a few.
And it was in New York she met Jeffrey Epstein at a party. It has been reported that the pair were a couple in the early 1990s, but by the time Epstein was profiled in Vanity Fair in 2003, he was describing her as his “best friend”, and the writer of the piece, Vicky Ward, goes on to note that, while Ghislaine wasn’t paid by Epstein, “she seems to organise much of his life”.
Numerous victims of Epstein’s alleged grooming, sexual abuse and trafficking have also accused Ghislaine Maxwell of being involved, as noted frequently in the Filthy Rich documentary. Indeed, survivor Virginia Giuffre, who was photographed with Prince Andrew, also alleges Maxwell introduced her to Epstein and forced her into having sex with other men including the royal.
“In the car Ghislane tells me that I have to do for Andrew what I do for Jeffrey and that just made me sick,” Virginia Guiffre said in an interview with Panorama last year. Guiffre brought a defamation lawsuit against Maxwell in 2015 that was settled in 2017 and unsealed last year following Epstein’s death. It includes Maxwell’s testimony that “a very small part of my job was from time to time to find adult professional massage therapists for Jeffrey. As far as I’m concerned, everyone who came to his house was an adult professional person”.
Guiffre isn’t the only person who pursued legal action against Maxwell – Epstein’s accusers Sarah Ransome, Maria Farmer, Jennifer Araoz and Annie Farmer are among those who have gone on record implicating Ghislaine in Jeffrey Epstein’s crimes.
After he was convicted of soliciting a minor for prostitution in 2008, Maxwell distanced herself and was no longer seen in public with Epstein following his release. She strongly denied any knowledge of or involvement in Epstein’s crimes and in 2011 released a statement through legal representatives that said: “The allegations made against me are abhorrent and entirely untrue.”
Where is Ghislaine Maxwell now?
By 2016, Maxwell had stopped being photographed at society events in New York. In April of that year she sold her home there (a townhouse just a few blocks from Epstein’s on the Upper East Side), and in 2017 even her own lawyers claimed they had no knowledge of her current address, according to the New York Times.
This explains why she isn’t featured in Filthy Rich, as the series’ producers, along with all the lawyers, officials and investigators still working on the Epstein case, have no idea where Ghislaine Maxwell is.
While there were reports she spent last summer in Manchester by the Sea in Massachusetts at the home of hedge fund CEO Scott Borgerson, there were no confirmed sightings of her, and a report that she was spotted at a fast food place in Los Angeles in August 2019 has not been verified, either.
More recently, The Sun – who have offered a £10,000 reward for information on her whereabouts – claimed Maxwell is hiding out in a chateau in France that once belonged to her family, but that has not been confirmed.
Wherever she may be, Ghislaine Maxwell has yet to be charged with any crimes.