Jeffrey Epstein died by suicide on August 10, 2019, in his jail cell in New York after being indicted the previous month on federal charges for sex trafficking minors in Florida and New York. In Lifetime’s documentary Surviving Jeffrey Epstein, the survivors talk about their reaction to his death, and one associate of his says she thinks suicide was very out of character for him.
Lisa Phillips Says, ‘I Just Don’t See Him Committing Suicide.’
Phillips is featured in the documentary as someone who could have potentially been a victim of Epstein’s, but she said that she “wasn’t his type.” She was a model who she said he used “to meet more women,” like he would help her in her modeling career if she did what he wanted and found him more girls.
When the subject of Epstein’s death came up, Phillips was adamant that he did not kill himself.
“I just don’t see him committing suicide, I just don’t. I think he was too important to too many people. He held all the secrets of so many people, he always said that. He would joke about it like they think they’re getting something out of him, but he was the one who had everything on them,” said Phillips.
The Survivors Had Mixed Reactions to Epstein’s Death
“I had no emotion tied to him killing himself. I guess if anything I was like, ‘Good. Good.’ I was just really, really angry at how this could have happened and who was responsible for letting this happen,” said survivor Kiki Doe.
Survivor Chauntae Davies took the news hard. She ended up being hospitalized because of the effect the news had on her.
“When I found out, I collapsed on the ground. I was hysterically crying, hyperventilating. I had worked myself up into such a frenzy … I started vomiting blood and I spent two days in the hospital just trying to stop the vomiting. It’s been a little over two months now and I’ve been to the hospital five times since. His death has retraumatized me all over again,” said Davies.
Survivor Courtney Wild added, “When I first heard about it, and I know this sounds crazy to many people, I was sad, I was upset. Then it changed from empathy to anger because this guy has never been held accountable for anything that he’s done.”
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.