Courtney Wild is one of the women who survived Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking and sexual assaults. She was first taken to his mansion at the age of 14 and is featured in Lifetime’s latest documentary, Surviving Jeffrey Epstein. The documentary “investigates the billionaire New York financier who is alleged to have used his connections to the rich and famous to shield his predatory behavior with young girls,” “telling the stories of eight survivors with insights from those close to him.”
Here is what you need to know about Wild’s journey.
Wild Was Taken to Epstein’s Mansion By a Friend
Wild was just 14 years old when a friend told her about “this really cool guy on Palm Beach Island who we could make $200 from, he only wanted a massage … she said this guy’s super nice, he has a really nice house. And she ended up taking me.”
Once there, Wild said it felt “elite” being in such a luxurious mansion and Epstein was perfectly nice at first as she and her friend gave him a massage. But then her friend left.
“You just know it’s not right. He called me over, asked me to take my bra and panties off, get completely naked, and all I could think of is ‘When is this gonna end, how long is this gonna take? What is happening?’ it quickly transitions to him molesting me. I just went along with it because I’m just a child,” said Wild, adding that she felt so disgusted walking out of there with $200, but she started to justify it to herself because her mom was a drug addict and the two of them didn’t have money.
Wild Eventually Became a Recruiter
Wild thought Epstein was her “saving grace” because she didn’t have any money, so in addition to the massages (which often led to sexual assaults), she was offered a $200 “finder’s fee” for bringing him new girls.
Wild tearfully recalled how sometimes she brought two or three girls in one day to his mansion.
“He groomed me to be exactly what he wanted me to be: a personal sex slave that brought him underage girls. These were my friends that I brought,” said Wild, adding that when he was arrested and she started looking at the names of his victims, she saw her friends’ names on there and felt sick about what she had done.
“It was devastating. For two days, I just stayed in my house and cried about it. For anybody that I recruited, I’m so sorry. The guilt and shame in how I feel about basically I lied to them and lured them in to go see this guy, I don’t know if it’s something that I’ll ever really fully get over.”
Lifetime Is Partnering With Rise to Run a Special PSA During the Broadcast
Lifetime has partnered with Rise to run a special PSA during the airings of the documentary to encourage other survivors to use their voice to RISE UP and help establish Survivors Bills of Rights in their states. Lifetime will also run a PSA from RAINN to provide hotline resources for those in need.”
In a virtual panel for the event, the executive producer Bob Friedman told reporters that they are telling the survivors’ stories in their own words.
“The story that we’ve told has been pretty much in the survivors’ own words, the survivors who bear this burden of abuse. Abuse that dare we all believe is hidden in plain sight,” said Friedman. “And we think that we go into some of the stories and the reason why with the making of the sex trafficking pyramid scheme, that was recent. We take a look at the recruiting that existed, the grooming of potential victims, and how allegedly Ghislaine Maxwell trained recruiters to create this abuse pipeline that we live through.”
He added that this is not the end of the story, saying, “We all believe that there will be some future revelations. The trial is scheduled to begin in July of next year, but we believe that we’ve addressed many of the questions that have not been addressed in the past.”
Director Ricki Stern added that it was so important to the filmmakers to emphasize to the survivors that this was not your run-of-the-mill news piece.
“It was really important that we spoke to [the survivors] and said to them, ‘This is going to be different than a news piece. We really want to spend time with you and have your story portrayed in your own words.’ There’s so much strength in these women’s stories, in their history, to understand where they come from and where they are today is so powerful,” said Stern. “And that was something that we wanted to make sure that the series portrayed. Lifetime is, of course, the perfect place for this series because they really value and they spotlight the women’s voices. And so, it was a lengthy process … It was a lengthy process to get to women. Because there had been so much attention, quick news stories that were done, that we had to really differentiate the series because it is four hours told in their voices.”
Surviving Jeffrey Epstein airs Sunday, August 9 and Monday, August 10 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Lifetime.