Johanna Sjoberg is a 39-year-old hairstylist and small business owner in West Palm Beach, Florida who alleged that Prince Andrew groped her at Jeffrey Epstein’s New York townhouse in 2001. She was attending a birthday party for Prince Andrew with Jeffrey Epstein, Epstein victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre, and Epstein’s former associate Ghislaine Maxwell.
She was invited to Epstein’s seven-story townhouse for a get together around Easter 2001 where she met Prince Andrew.
“Prince Andrew was there and Ghislaine and a couple of other girls my age.” Were at the home, she told The Daily Mail, “Andrew was very charming. I didn’t know exactly who he was but felt that I knew him. She (Ghislaine) came down with a present for him – a latex puppet of him from Spitting Image.”
After Maxwell gave Prince Andrew the gift, they posed for a photo.
“Virginia, another girl there, sat on a chair and had the puppet on her lap. Andrew sat on another chair, I sat on his lap – and he put his hand on my breast. Ghislaine put the puppet’s hand on Virginia’s breast, then Andrew put his hand on mine. It was a great joke. Everybody laughed. Ghislaine made a lot of sexual jokes,” says Johanna. “She had a very dirty sense of humor.”
Unlike Epstein’s other victims, Sjoberg was 21 at the time and a consenting adult. Their relationship remained platonic for months before Epstein propositioned her for sex. She relented at first but eventually gave in because she was a struggling college student.
“I was groomed for it,” she said of her experience, “I made a pact with the devil in exchange for excitement and glamour. I was only a college student. I was hard-up and foolish.”
The New York Times reported that Epstein “punished” her after he failed to achieve orgasm during one of her massages.
“There were many years when I really liked these people. But now I feel angry and used.”
Sjoberg agreed to cooperate with the FBI’s investigation into Prince Andrew’s involvement in the Jeffrey Epstein case. Her testimony could provide evidence of Epstein’s link to Prince Andrew and his alleged misdeeds with underage girls, including Roberts Giuffre.
Prince Andrew denied any wrongdoing but agreed to withdraw from public duty and was forced to remove himself as the figurehead of 200 charitable organizations after a disastrous TV interview with Emily Maitlis.
A spokesperson for the royal family released a statement commenting on his removal. “The duke will be stepping back from public duty and temporarily standing back from his patronages. The duke will continue to work on Pitch and will look at how he takes this forward outside of his public duties, and outside of Buckingham Palace.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. She Owns a Hair Salon in West Palm Beach, Florida
Sjoberg is the owner of Beautyfool Salon in West Palm Beach, Florida, according to her LinkedIn profile. Beautyfool is a luxury hair salon with high prices catering to select clientele. Her prices range from $50 for a men’s haircut to $250 for highlights.
She also offers “on location” styling and “travels extensively” for her clients “maintaining their perfect hair color in places like Santa Monica, NYC, Aspen, and St. Tropez, according to the Beautyfool website.
Beautyfool’s website says Johanna started styling hair “as a child, initially cutting hair styles for her Barbies and on to her brothers.” and that she’s trained at “Vidal Sassoon in London, as well as Frederic Fekkai and Tony & Guy in New York to educate herself in cutting and coloring techniques.”
2. Johanna Sjoberg Spoke Out Against Epstein and Prince Andrew in 2007
Back in 2007 when the allegations of sexual misconduct and assault against Jeffrey Epstein were first coming to light, Sjoberg shared her story with The Daily Mail.
Epstein was in all sorts of legal trouble at the time and eventually plead guilty to two counts of “procuring for prostitution a girl below the age of 18” in West Palm Beach, Florida. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison but allowed out of his prison cell for “work release” 12 hours per day.
She talked extensively about her 5-year relationship with Epstein, telling the paper that “It was fun,” and adding, “Really, though, I was being groomed. I really liked him, and I didn’t get any sexual vibes from him. I viewed him as a great uncle who wanted me to be happy.”
She explained to the paper in detail being groped by Prince Andrew during a meeting at Epstein’s New York penthouse with fellow accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre. She also talks about how Epstein started out teaching her massage techniques that slowly escalated into more sexual requests.
She reiterated her claims again in written evidence for a 2015 defamation suit filed against Maxwell by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, another woman who has made allegations against both men.
3. She Was Studying to be a Family Therapist Before Epstein’s Associate Ghislaine Maxwell Recruited Her
Similar to Epstein’s other victims, Sjoberg was recruited by his associate Ghislaine Maxwell while attending Atlantic College in Palm Beach. She was studying psychology at the time and had hoped to become a family therapist. In February 2001, Maxwell approached Sjoberg and offered her a job making $20 per hour to answer phones and serve occasional drinks at Epstein’s home.
“I thought, what a great opportunity!” Sjoberg told The Daily Mail, “It seemed pretty easy. I felt as if I had fallen into a pot of gold. All my friends were jealous of me for getting such a great job.”
She was a young, naive college student from a church-going family in Maine, unaware that Ghislaine’s request had sinister undertones.
Her first day on the job was uneventful and consisted of her running various errands for Epstein. For her second day on the job, things escalated. “Ghislaine asked me, ‘Do you want to make $100 rubbing feet?’ I said I would love to do that.”
Sjoberg massaged Epstein on a regular basis but nothing turned inappropriate until later. Still, Johanna maintains that she was a consenting 21-year-old adult and while she regrets her decisions, nothing illegal occurred.
Back in 2007 she still held Maxwell in high regard. “Ghislaine was quite motherly,” says Johanna. “She called all us kids, ‘my children’. She was someone I very much respected and wanted to learn from. She carried herself in a special way. She is a very big personality. Ghislaine was very interesting.”
4. She Rebuked Epstein’s Sexual Advances At First but Eventually Agreed
After the Prince Andrew groping incident, which Johanna shrugged off as a joke, Epstein propositioned her for sex for the first time.
“While I was in New York, Jeffrey asked me to do the nipple thing. He asked me to touch his nipples during the massage.” Sjoberg told The Daily Mail, “I was shocked. I said, ‘I am not doing this. I’m done.’ And I walked out of the room. He couldn’t believe I refused. No one else had ever done that.”
Despite her refusal, Epstein invited her to his private island in the British Virgin Islands and warned her that there would be “sex stuff” going on.
“I thought I was going to the island to do massage. I thought I would probably get paid. I was doing one or two a day, mostly for him, but sometimes for Ghislaine. She wasn’t very picky, but he [Epstein] kept dictating what he wanted. She would be naked under a towel during the massage. There was no suggestion from her of anything untoward during the massages.”
But the requests started escalating. “It was when Jeffrey became more aggressive with me, trying to pressure me to do sexual things to him, that things turned sour. He offered me money.” she told The Daily Mail. She eventually gave in to his requests.
“I had kept the sex stuff a secret,” from her family, she says “though everyone around me thought it was kind of kinky to get a massage at nine at night. I just told people he’s an old man -– that I just massage his feet. I kept it secret. I told my parents he was like my uncle.”
“He was, but I didn’t want anyone to know he was a dirty old man. I knew because he would talk to me about what he wanted other girls to do to him, what he wanted me to do.” She said.
Sjoberg said she “felt it wasn’t right, but a college kid needs money and I really liked him.” She says Epstein paid her college fees, made the down payment on her house, and paid for her to train as a hairdresser and as a masseuse.
5. She Was Unaware at the Time Epstein Was Having Sex with Underage Girls
During their time together, Sjoberg says she was completely unaware that Epstein was having sex with underage girls and never saw anything inappropriate occur in his vacation home in the British Virgin Islands.
“All the stuff that was going on with the massages, no one ever talked about it. You wouldn’t know coming to the house. The police reports paint a picture that it was a big orgy all the time, but it wasn’t.” She told The Daily Mail.
As the allegations started coming to light, she still gave Epstein the benefit of the doubt. “When all the stories started coming out and the police questioned me whether or not I had known about any involvement with underaged girls, I said definitely not, I was never aware of that” She said.
Around the same time, Epstein inquired if anybody had asked her about the allegations. “I said yes.” Sjoberge said, “I asked Jeffrey if it was true he had had sex with underage girls. He said, ‘Yes, but I didn’t know about their age. They lied about it’.”
Unlike Epstein’s other victims such as Teala Davis, she was not cast out or disowned by the deceased billionaire. She says the relationship ended amicably but feels slightly gross about what happened in retrospect.
“Sure, I had a good time. But I also think it damaged me a bit.” She revealed.