Jeffrey Epstein used his connections to Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein to impress young women, and even helped one victim land a role in a horror movie produced by a Weinstein-owned company, The Daily Beast has learned.
Chauntae Davies was recruited into Epstein’s trafficking ring in 2001, when she was a 21-year-old massage-therapy student in California. She says the perverted financier groomed and sexually abused her for years before she escaped in 2005.
Davies’ time in Epstein’s world included a 2002 humanitarian trip to Africa with former President Bill Clinton on the money-manager’s private jet. Actors Chris Tucker and Kevin Spacey were along for the ride.
But Epstein also introduced Davies to Weinstein, who allegedly got her an audition for Feast, a 2005 film about a remote Texas tavern fending off monsters. Davies played a character identified only as “Drunk Girl,” according to IMDb.
The low-budget flick was produced by Dimension Films, the independent arm of Miramax that was run by Weinstein’s brother. Bob Weinstein, who has since launched a company without Harvey, did not return messages left by The Daily Beast.
Asked if Davies’ role in a Dimension movie was only a coincidence, her attorney, Brad Edwards, confirmed it was not. “Jeffrey Epstein introduced her to Harvey and that connection is what led to her getting that audition,” Edwards said.
A lawyer for Weinstein declined to comment.
Epstein once counted the producer (and now convicted sex offender) as a friend, allegedly inviting him to his Paris apartment, posing with him at the 18th birthday party of Prince Andrew’s daughter Beatrice, and apparently invoking the producer’s name to show off around his victims hoping for a big break.
Epstein’s accused madam, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, also appeared friendly with Weinstein, attending parties and premieres for his film companies. “From my point of view, I can tell you that Ghislaine and Epstein viewed Hollywood and the movies as a way into power society,” said New York publicist R. Couri Hay. “Epstein collected people, including movie stars like Woody Allen.”
“It wouldn’t surprise me if Weinstein and Epstein felt a kinship through their immoral character traits and that they had some immediate symbiotic relationship because of their evil ways,” Hay told The Daily Beast.
Another society insider, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Weinstein and Epstein were bound to become friendly while running in the same circles. “The Jeffreys of the world are the kind of people Harvey liked in his orbit,” said the source, who was friendly with Maxwell. “If he saw power and/or influence, all of that was very appealing to Harvey.”
Weinstein and Epstein also shared certain high-profile connections, like power publicist Peggy Siegal and former President Clinton. And in 2003, the men were part of an investor group, which included media mogul Mort Zuckerman and Cablevision CEO James Dolan, bent on buying New York magazine.
Epstein even phoned another mutual friend, disgraced TV host Charlie Rose, sometime in 2005 and 2006, to make lunch plans and share phone numbers for potential new female employees. Last summer, New York reported on Epstein’s name surfacing in Rose’s written call logs. The money-manager reportedly referred to one woman as the “world’s most perfect assistant” and said she “used to work for Harvey Weinstein” and Rose is “lucky if he can get her.”
Now, as a new book by Edwards reveals, Epstein once accused Weinstein of attempting to sexually assault one of his “favorite girls,” apparently leading to the end of the creepy duo’s friendship. Edwards, who has represented victims of Epstein for 12 years, says this alleged encounter occurred in the financier’s home in France.
In Relentless Pursuit (to be published March 31 by Gallery Books, a division of Simon & Schuster), Edwards writes, “I heard various versions of this story from others, including years later from Epstein himself, who referred to Harvey as a pig. Imagine that.”
An attorney for Weinstein, Imran H. Ansari, did not answer questions about the ex-movie producer’s connections with Epstein, who was arrested for sex-trafficking underage girls and killed himself in lock-up last summer.
Ansari (who also represents lawyer Alan Dershowitz in a defamation suit filed by Virginia Giuffre, a victim of Epstein) would only comment on Edwards’ book. “To the extent that the book Mr. Edwards is currently marketing for public sale is comprised of personal anecdotes rather than hard evidence,” Ansari said, “we decline to comment as to those unverified accounts pertaining to Mr. Weinstein.”
The anecdote in Edwards’ tell-all is one of the first public allegations of a deeper relationship between Epstein, an accused serial molester of minor girls, and Weinstein, who was recently convicted of rape.
At another point in his book, Edwards notes that Epstein allegedly introduced at least one young victim to Weinstein, as well as Donald Trump, to impress her and remind her “of all that he could continue to do for her in the future.”
Indeed, when Palm Beach police investigated Epstein for sex trafficking in 2005, they discovered message pads in his trash that highlighted missed calls from pals including Donald Trump, illusionist David Copperfield (listed as “Magic David”), and French modeling agent Jean-Luc Brunel.
Harvey Weinstein was also one of the callers. According to one message reviewed by The Daily Beast, “Harvey” left a number connected to Weinstein. Last year, CBS 12 in Palm Beach reported that a “Harvey Weinstein,” left Epstein a message in November 2004.
Phone records for one of Epstein’s co-conspirators, Sarah Kellen, showed a one-minute call from a New York number once connected to Weinstein on Oct. 3, 2005. (That number appears to be an office line for Miramax, Weinstein’s shuttered film company, and was also connected to Miramax executive Meryl Poster.)
Epstein listed three Miramax executives in his Little Black Book: Poster, former spokesman Andrew Stengel, and Harvey’s brother, Bob.
Last month, Poster told The Daily Beast she doesn’t recall ever crossing paths with Epstein, though she said she met Maxwell once at a party. “He came to a pre-Oscar party once, that’s probably why he had my number, my assistant. I know nothing more,” Poster said of Epstein in an email.
“I had no interaction with him. I was working 24/7 and was solely focused on doing my job. I had a tremendous amount of responsibilities.”
If Maxwell and Epstein made any Miramax guest lists, “it was Harvey’s doing,” she said.
Bob Weinstein and Stengel did not return messages left for comment.
In July 2006, Epstein and Maxwell were snapped grinning with Weinstein at Princess Beatrice’s 18th birthday party at Windsor Castle. The Victorian-themed bash came just days before Epstein was indicted for soliciting minor girls for prostitution in Palm Beach, Florida.
Weinstein was in a tuxedo, Maxwell in a plumed mask, and Epstein in a formal white U.S. Navy SEAL uniform, with service ribbons and medals.
Maxwell has been photographed at events for Miramax and The Weinstein Company for years. In January 2007, Maxwell was captured at a screening after-party for Breaking and Entering, which was released by Weinstein’s companies.
Two months later, Maxwell attended a benefit honoring Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter and his daughter. In the photo, Weinstein and ex-wife Georgina Chapman were smiling in the background as Maxwell hugged Carter.
Maxwell was also photographed at an Election Night party hosted by Weinstein and others in November 2008, at the upscale Public House bar near Grand Central Terminal.
In November 2010, Maxwell was snapped alongside The King’s Speech star Colin Firth and director Tom Hooper at a luncheon at the 21 Club to celebrate the film, which was distributed by The Weinstein Company. That same month, the publishing heiress attended a cocktail party for Katie Nicholl’s book William and Harry: Behind the Palace Walls, which was published by Weinstein Books.
Then there was an appearance at the Grand Classics screening of the classic silent film City Girl, hosted by Weinstein in November 2013. A shutterbug photographed Maxwell with Gossip Girl actress Kelly Rutherford.
Maxwell also attended the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar party hosted by Carter in West Hollywood. She beamed for a picture with a bow-tied Elon Musk. Another photo shows her hugging a larger older gentleman, who isn’t identified in a caption.
“Is this Ghislaine Maxwell hugging Harvey Weinstein at the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar party?” one New York Times reporter asked on Twitter. A reader replied, “I thought the same thing when I saw it.” (The photographer of the event, Kevin Mazur, told The Daily Beast the mystery man is not Harvey Weinstein.)
A month later, Maxwell definitely posed with Bob Weinstein—along with actress Karen Duffy—for a book-party photo at the Grill Room at the Four Seasons. Maxwell was photographed with Poster, the ex-Miramax executive, at this same event.
“There is no one she did not know,” said one film industry insider who knew Maxwell socially. “If you stood next to Ghislaine at a film event, there was no head of state, CEO, billionaire, rock star, actor” to whom she wouldn’t cozy up.
The insider, who asked to remain anonymous over the radioactivity associated with Maxwell’s name, said she thought she saw Maxwell at the Oscars once. “I remember thinking at the time, ‘That’s kind of weird that she’s at the Oscars.’”
But Epstein’s camp and Weinstein may have been friendly since the 1990s.
Maria Farmer, who was one of Epstein’s earliest victims, said she remembers Maxwell speaking of a film executive named “Harvey.” Farmer was hired as Epstein’s “art consultant” in 1995, but mostly answered the door at his Manhattan townhouse.
As The Daily Beast previously reported, Farmer says she was sexually assaulted by Epstein and Maxwell in 1996, when she was 26 and working at the Ohio mansion of former Limited Brands Chairman Les Wexner. Epstein and Maxwell are also accused of sexually abusing her 15-year-old sister, Annie, at Epstein’s New Mexico compound.
Farmer’s story was cut from Vanity Fair writer Vicky Ward’s 2003 profile of Epstein. Ward has claimed Carter bowed to pressure from Epstein, but Carter says Ward’s sourcing at the time didn’t meet the magazine’s legal standards.
Earlier this year, Farmer told The Daily Beast she remembers Maxwell bragging about knowing Bob and Harvey Weinstein. An attorney for Maxwell didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Maxwell allegedly suggested she could call “Harvey” to get Annie an acting role, or even a shoot with Ford Models. (Both Katie Ford, the agency’s former CEO, and her ex-husband, hotelier André Balazs, have multiple numbers in Epstein’s address book. Neither returned messages left by The Daily Beast.)
“I think Annie would be perfect for them, or we might have to call Harvey,” Farmer recalls Maxwell saying.
“I said, ‘Who is Harvey?’ She said, ‘Harvey Weinstein.’”