YOUNG beauties with ‘perfect’ bodies parading in jewel-encrusted plunge bras and glittery thongs were always going to attract criticism in 2019.
But was there another reason why the plug was pulled on the Victoria’s Secret fashion show last Friday?
Experts have pointed to an ‘unholy alliance’ between Leslie Wexner – the owner of Victoria’s Secret, a man whose brand made billions from selling sexy lingerie to young women – and paedo billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.
In recent years the event has come under fire for its lack of diversity and objectifying women – but the show’s end abruptly came in the week when the glare of the world’s media has been pointed at Epstein and his pal Prince Andrew.
Pervert Epstein maintained a decades-long friendship Leslie Wexner. During that time Epstein reportedly pretended to “work as a talent scout” for Victoria’s Secret and tried to abuse models. Wexner should have known about this, yet nothing was done.
Epstein had an “unusually strong hold” over the CEO, according to an investigation by the New York Times. And the links between the two are certainly tantalising.
After the clothing magnate, now 82, hired Epstein as his ‘personal money manager’ in the early 1990s, the duo became so entwined that Wexner handed him the reins of power for his finances and private life.
Epstein ended up with a private plane, a vast estate in Ohio and a Manhattan townhouse – all previously owned by Wexner or his companies.
It’s at this house that much of Epstein’s abuse is said to have taken place and where Virginia Giuffre claims she was ordered to entertain Prince Andrew.
Epstein and Maxwell used their links to the lingerie brand as a front for abuse. When questioned about the stream of young girls in school uniform coming in and out of his mansion, a witness claimed Epstein said they were auditioning for Victoria’s Secret.
His ‘madam’ Ghislaine Maxwell is also alleged to have trawled Central Park looking for Victoria’s Secret models.
One of Epstein’s alleged victims, Maria Farmer, charged in court papers that she was sexually assaulted by Epstein and Maxwell on the 336-acre Ohio estate where Wexner lived with his wife, Abigail.
Since his death in a prison cell in August, endless questions need answering about the life and crimes of Jeffrey Epstein.
And a light is shining on those who were closest to him and to what extent they were involved– and this includes the CEO and founder of L Brands – Victoria’s Secrets’ parent company.
‘An unholy alliance’
“If these allegations are true, there was an unholy alliance between Epstein and Wexner,” John Connolly, who co-authored a bestseller about Epstein tells Sun Online.
“L Brands has faced financial problems for a few years, but the bad press about Wexner’s connections to Epstein had to contribute to the cancellation of the show.”
And little wonder. When you dig in to Epstein’s connections to Wexner, the implications are disturbing.
Talent scout impostor
Young artist Maria Farmer, claims that she fell into Epstein’s clutches after she met him at an art show in 1995. It was the same year Victoria’s Secret held their first show.
Thirteen years previously, Wexner, nicknamed the “Merlin of the Mall” began to peddle his pneumatic Angels into American culture.
It was also in the 80s when he met Epstein, who made the unlikely jump from college dropout to be given power of attorney over billionaire Wexner’s affairs.
Enriched partly by his association with Wexner, Epstein bought one of blonde beauty Maria Farmer’s paintings and offered her a job working the door at the New York townhouse he’d acquired from Wexner.
When she asked Epstein why so many young girls were coming in and out of the home – some wearing school uniforms – she was told they were auditioning for the lingerie brand.
It didn’t seem implausible – the brand has made billions flogging a cheerleader aesthetic to the masses.
Farmer also said that she would go out in the car with Ghislaine Maxwell to “get Victoria’s Secrets models.”
The following summer, aged 26, Farmer was sent to be an “artist in residence” at Wexner’s sprawling estate.
She alleges in court papers that she was put up in a guest house and assaulted by Maxwell and Epstein.
When she tried to flee the following day after the attack, she says in court papers a member of Wexner's staff warned her, “You're not going anywhere. You are never leaving.”
She claims Maxwell threatened her after she reported the attack to police, telling her: “You have to be really careful. Look over your shoulder.”
Wexner and his wife, Abigail, said in a statement that they ‘had no knowledge" of Farmer and “never met her, never spoke with her.”
They added that the guest house where she said she stayed was not a ‘Wexner guest house.’ In fact, Wexner handed it over to Epstein four years earlier.
Overlooking assault allegations
Less than a year after Farmer’s ordeal, Epstein allegedly lured California model, Alicia Arden, to a hotel room for an “audition” for Victoria’s Secret.
He grabbed the 27-year-old and declared that he wanted to “manhandle her.” She started to cry and fled. “His weapons were his hands,” Arden said.
Concerned that Epstein would use his ties to the underwear brand to hurt other women, Arden reported him to the police.
Two senior executives at Victoria’s Secret said Wexner was aware of the incidents – but what – if anything – he did to address the matter remains unknown.
House of horrors
Epstein’s power of attorney gave him “full power and authority” to hire Wexner’s staff, borrow money and buy and sell properties on his behalf.
In 1998, Epstein took sole possession of the Manhattan townhouse that Virginia claims became Andrew’s pleasure palace.
She claims that after being employed as the billionaire perv’s sex slave, she was ordered in April 2001 to entertain Andrew at the mansion, which had a life-size female doll hanging from a chandelier. She was 17 years old.
“I took him upstairs to the dungeon,” she told me in her first interview about Andrew, in 2011. “He undressed and lay face down on the table.”
She claims she treated him to a routine called an ‘erotic massage,’ which she was taught by Epstein.
“I started with his feet,” she said, “then his calves the way Jeffrey liked it.”
Andrew insisted on Newsnight that he didn’t ever recall even meeting Virginia.
Hookers and pimps
But one Victoria’s Secret model who indisputably visited Epstein’s mansion during Prince Andrew’s fateful stay there in 2010 was 21-year-old brunette beauty Lana Zakocela, along with an exec from the company.
Prince Andrew told the BBC during his disastrous interview that he had attended “a small dinner party” at the house.
It wasn’t Andrew’s first encounter with a Victoria’s Secret model – he was seen with Maxwell at a 'Hookers and Pimps' themed Halloween party thrown by Angel Heidi Klum in 2001.
Maxwell, disguised in a blonde wig, draped a protective arm around the Royal as he gawked at Klum’s black PVC catsuit.
It wasn’t until many years later, in 2006, that the authorities brought the first criminal charges against Epstein.
By this point, Victoria’s Secrets had hundreds of stores internationally, had launched its ‘Pink’ range to target teens and had almost 10 million viewers tuning in to watch Angels like Gisele Bundchen, Alessandra Ambrosio and Adriana Lima on the catwalk, and stars including Justin Timberlake and Mary J Blige perform in its famous shows.
Despite his high profile position, Wexner didn’t sever his financial ties with Epstein until 18 months after.
He insisted he was in the dark about his financial mentor’s double life – which Epstein told one young victim was due to his need to have “three orgasms a day.”
Following Epstein’s arrest, Wexner finally cast some light on their friendship.
He said he’d given Epstein power of attorney because the debonair money man was recommended to him as trustworthy by “various well-known and respected individuals” who were his clients and friends.
Wexner said in a letter that he also discovered that Epstein had ripped him off.
“We discovered that he had misappropriated vast sums of money from me and my family. This was, frankly, a tremendous shock, even though it clearly pales in comparison to the unthinkable allegations against him now,” he said.
He told his charity that he recovered $46 million but that was only “some” of the stolen funds.
“I am embarrassed that, like so many others, I was deceived by Mr. Epstein,” Wexner wrote.
“I know now that my trust in him was grossly misplaced, and I deeply regret having ever crossed his path.”
The chorus of Wexner critics has continued to expand, however, with New York Magazine pointing out that his statement has raised new questions about his choice of friends.
“If Epstein stole millions of dollars from Wexner, why didn’t he call the cops?” demanded the editorial.
A spokeswoman for L Brands said: “While Mr. Epstein served as Mr. Wexner’s personal money manager for a period that ended nearly 12 years ago, we do not believe he was ever employed by nor served as an authorised representative of the company.”
She added that L Brands has hired lawyers “to conduct a thorough review” into the men’s relationship.
The company’s share price has fallen 30 per cent this year against the backdrop of Wexner’s ties to Epstein and changing attitudes – and with the scandal getting murkier by the day, just how much further it’ll plunge remains to be seen.
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