Former model Elisabetta Tai said she knocked multimillionaire and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein over the head with a vibrator when he tried to coerce her into having sex. Tai recently shared her story with the New York Post, recalling how a supposed modeling job interview with the powerful financier turned into something very different.
Epstein, 66, was arrested July 6, 2019 on federal charges of sex trafficking underage girls in Florida and New York.
Several witnesses have stepped forward to recount how Epstein and his assistants attempted to manipulate young women and underage girls for sex in exchange for modeling jobs, acting work and money. Some women say they were sexually assaulted.
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman of New York said if convicted on all charges, Epstein could face up to 45 years in prison.
The incident with Tai occurred several years before Epstein pleaded guilty to sexually molesting a 14-year-old Florida girl. Eventually, the FBI discovered more than 30 other underage girls who gave testimony similar to that of Epstein’s first victim.
In 2008, former U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, who was the Miami U.S. Attorney at the time, allowed Epstein to enter into a non-prosecution agreement that some are calling a “sweetheart deal.” In return for not receiving a possible life sentence, the wealthy and powerful Epstein had to register as a sex offender and reach financial settlements with his other victims. Epstein also received a 13-month prison sentence in which he was allowed to go to the office each day.
Here’s what you need to know about Elisabetta Tai and her encounter with Jeffrey Epstein.
1.Tai Was Told Epstein Was “Going to Change Her Life”
Tai revealed she was a 21-year-old model who arrived in New York City from Padova, Italy in 2004 and was hoping to advance her budding career. Tai had accepted a few modeling jobs in Italy but “but nothing big, nothing like I imagined I could do in America,” she said.
Tai’s booker gave her Epstein’s name and address, emphasizing he was one of the most important people in the modeling industry. Her said Epstein ran a “world-famous lingerie brand,” and could get her work as a catalog model.
“He told me this is one of the most important people in modeling,” Tai shared with the New York Post. “He said that this man is in charge of Victoria’s Secret and he’s going to change your life.”
2.Tai Said She “Froze” When Epstein Handed Her the Vibrator
Tai recalled that when she arrived at Epstein’s mansion, she was greeted at the door by a butler and saw several models walking around. “I was so excited,” she said.
A woman with short black hair who seemed to work as an assistant brought Tai to meet Epstein. Although Tai did not know the woman’s name, Tai now believes the woman was Epstein’s longtime assistant Ghislaine Maxwell.
After being introduced, she and Epstein began discussing her previous modeling work in Italy. During the conversation, Tai said she noticed a massage table near his desk. As Tai continued to talk about her work in Italy, Epstein went over to a massage table and began to disrobe. “I thought he was preparing to have a massage, and that someone was about to come into the room and give him a massage,” she said.
Epstein was naked and laying on the table when he asked her to come closer and handed her a vibrator. The terrified young woman panicked and threw it at his head. “I mean, I don’t know where it landed, I just blacked out and then I ran as fast as I could out of the room,” she told the paper.
3.Tai Was Warned Epstein Was Connected to Bill Clinton
Tai attempted to flee Epstein’s 21,000-square-foot mansion but couldn’t find the front door. As she was trying to make her escape, the woman with the short black hair saw Tai, grabbed her, and told her she couldn’t leave. “She said that this man is important, that he is a friend of President Clinton.”
Bill Clinton took several trips on Epstein’s private jet after his presidency had ended, including a trip to Africa. Clinton’s Press Secretary Angel Urena commented on Twitter that Clinton was unaware of Epstein’s illicit behavior.
“President Clinton knows nothing about the terrible crimes Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to in Florida some years ago or those with which he has been recently charged in New York,” Urena said.
4. Victoria’s Secret Chief Executive Regrets His Relationship with Epstein
Epstein, who had a stake in a modeling business, attempted to use his connections in the modeling world and Victoria’s Secret to lure aspiring models.
“He [Epstein] portrayed himself as the back door to get a girl into Victoria’s Secret. Some of those girls got in,” one anonymous agent told the New York Post.
Epstein had worked as a financial advisor to Les Wexner, chief executive for L Brands, the parent company of Victoria’s Secret, but it’s unclear how involved he was with the famous lingerie brand. Wexner and Epstein also jointly purchased the Manhattan mansion in 1989 until the deed was transferred to Epstein’s Virgin Islands LLC in 2011.
On July 15, 2019, Wexner, sent an email sent to L Brands employees, explaining that he had “severed all ties” with Epstein 12 years earlier.
“I would not have continued to work with any individual capable of such egregious, sickening behavior as has been reported about him,” he said, adding that he regretted their paths had ever crossed.
5. Tai Says the Incident With Epstein “Changed her for Life”
Tai said she held off from sharing her story because she feared someone as wealthy and powerful as Epstein could ruin her budding modeling career.
She’s now speaking out after reading about his arrest and hearing the stories of how other young women also suffered. “I think it’s terrible,” she said. “I think it’s awful what he did to me, and what he did to those girls. It’s just not right, especially in a young girl.”
Tai said the experience with Epstein changed her for life. It was shocking to realize that if I wanted to be a model in America, I was expected to work as a prostitute.”