Former Vanity Fair editor allegedly threatened by Epstein

  • Disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein reportedly used his wealth and intimidation tactics to shut down media stories that delved into the allegations of sexual misconduct against him.
  • NPR delved into how Epstein wasn't covered extensively by the press.
  • A former contributing editor for Vanity Fair recalled several stories to NPR where he claims Epstein tried to pressure former Vanity Fair Editor-in-Chief Graydon Carter away from pursuing or publishing any stories that dealt with sexual misconduct allegations against him in the early-2000s. 
  • As Vanity Fair reporters pursued stories related to Epstein's misconduct over the years, Carter allegedly received a single bullet on his home's doorstep and found a severed cat's head in his front yard. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein reportedly used his wealth and intimidation tactics to shut down any media stories that discussed the allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

Epstein was well-embedded into the upper echelons of the world's political and business elites. The former money manager, who ran a business out of the US Virgin Islands, had taken several trips on his private jet with former President Bill Clinton and rubbed shoulders with Prince Andrew, a member of the British Royal Family, and President Donald Trump.

Epstein also previously had a close relationship with L Brands CEO Les Wexner, his only known client, and British publishing heiress Ghislaine Maxwell, his former girlfriend and alleged madame.

Still, media coverage of Epstein and his alleged misconduct was sparse.

According to a report published by NPR on Thursday, Epstein was able to intimidate his accusers and struck settlements with others in order to make it more difficult for journalists to get alleged victims to go on-the-record. Epstein also used similar tactics to quiet journalists.

Epstein allegedly showed up at the Vanity Fair offices and was "torturing" former Editor-in-Chief Graydon Carter

Graydon Carter Sun ValleyGetty / Scott Olson

In 2002, Vanity Fair Editor-in-Chief Graydon Carter had heard rumors about Epstein, according to NPR, and assigned reporter Vicky Ward to pursue a story on why Epstein was always spotted in the company of young women. 

Ward interviewed two women, Maria and Annie Farmer, who alleged that Epstein and then-girlfriend Maxwell had recruited them for sexual abuse. Annie was just 15 when Epstein sexually assaulted her, according to NPR, and she later discussed these allegations in an affidavit for a lawsuit in 2019.

The sisters told NPR that they spoke about their allegations of abuse against Epstein when they were minors on the record. Even their mother, Janice, told NPR that she discussed the allegations openly, in the hopes that the interview would protect any young girls in Epstein's orbit from becoming future victims. 

epstein annie farmerDrew Angerer/Getty Images

Early one morning in 2003, Epstein is said to have somehow found his way into the Manhattan offices of Vanity Fair, where he was discovered by Carter, NPR reported.

John Connolly, a former Vanity Fair contributing editor, told NPR that Epstein had shown up to pressure Carter away from running any stories that dealt with sexual misconduct allegations against him. 

"He was torturing Graydon," Connolly told NPR. 

Epstein also followed up with a barrage of phone calls and messages and denied any misconduct, the report said. 

Ward's piece was finally published in March 2003, though it did not mention the interviews the Farmer sisters had given which detailed their abuse. 

"It was terribly painful," the sisters wrote in a statement to NPR. "In the end, the story that ran erased our voices."

Carter said in a statement to NPR that the magazine "takes its legal obligations seriously," particularly in reference to stories that deal with a private person who is protected under libel laws. 

Ward had previously told the Daily Beast that Carter had scrubbed all reference to allegations of misconduct against Epstein from her piece. Carter previously said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter that Ward's piece was rinsed of the interviews with Epstein's accusers because the story lacked "three sources on the record and therefore this aspect of the story did not meet our legal and editorial standards." This week, according to NPR, he updated his statement and said Ward did not have three sources that met the magazine's "legal threshold" at the time.

Carter allegedly found a single bullet and a severed cat head outside his residences

jeffrey epstein(Photo by Joe Schildhorn/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Connolly told NPR that soon after Ward's piece was made public, Cater found a single bullet placed outside the front door of his home in Manhattan, a development he considered to be a clear warning sign. 

Read more:Everything we know about Trump's connection to financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was charged with sex trafficking

"That wasn't a coincidence," Connolly told NPR. A spokeswoman for Carter confirmed the story but said in a statement to NPR that he recalled the incident happening in 2004.

Police began to investigate allegations of misconduct against Epstein in 2005, after a 14-year-old girl and her family reported to police that she was molested at Epstein's Palm Beach mansion and was asked to give him a massage in exchange for payment. Several other girls had recounted similar stories years prior.  

In 2006, Connolly headed to Florida to investigate allegations against Epstein for a story and sought interviews with women who worked for Epstein, Connolly told NPR. Soon after, Carter says Connolly called him to let him know that he had found the severed head of a dead cat in the front yard of his home in Connecticut. 

"It was done to intimidate," Connolly told NPR. "No question about it." Connolly told NPR that he voluntarily stopped pursuing allegations against Epstein, though Carter claimed the magazine never stopped reporting on the subject due to threats.

Read more:What to know about British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein's alleged madam

In 2008, Epstein pleaded guilty to two state charges of soliciting prostitution in 2008 and registered as a sex offender as part of a deal cut with the US Attorney's Office in Miami. He had been sentenced to 18 months in prison but only served 13 months in a private wing of the Palm Beach County Jail where he was allowed to work in an office six days per week.

RELATED: U.S. vs. Jeffrey Epstein

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NEW YORK, NY - JULY 08: US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman announces charges against Jeffery Epstein on July 8, 2019 in New York City. Epstein will be charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 08: US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman announces charges against billionaire financier Jeffery Epstein on July 8, 2019 in New York City. Epstein will be charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 08: Two of the purported victims of multi-millionaire Jeffrey Epstein, Michelle Licata (L) and Courtney Wild leave a Manhattan court house after a hearing on sex trafficking charges for financier Jeffrey Epstein on July 08, 2019 in New York City. Epstein is charged with having operated a sex trafficking ring in which he sexually abused dozens of underage girls. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 08: Two of Jeffrey Epstein's alleged victims, Michelle Licata (L) and Courtney Wild (R), exit the courthouse after the billionaire financier appeared for a hearing on July 8, 2019 in New York City. According to reports, Epstein will be charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
In this courtroom artist's sketch, defendant Jeffrey Epstein, center, sits with attorneys Martin Weinberg, left, and Marc Fernich during his arraignment in New York federal court, Monday, July 8, 2019. Epstein pleaded not guilty to federal sex trafficking charges. The 66-year-old is accused of creating and maintaining a network that allowed him to sexually exploit and abuse dozens of underage girls from 2002 to 2005. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)
NEW YORK, US - JULY 08: David Boies, attorney for the alleged sex victims of the US financier Jeffreey Epstein case, delivers a speech to the media outside the United States Federal Court on July 08, 2019 in New York, United States. (Photo by Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 08: A residence belonging to Jeffrey Epstein at East 71st street is seen on the Upper East Side of Manhattan on July 8, 2019 in New York City. According to reports, Epstein is charged with running a sex-trafficking operation out of his opulent mansion. (Photo by Kevin Hagen/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 08: Prosecutors exit the room after US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman announces charges against Jeffery Epstein on July 8, 2019 in New York City. Epstein will be charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 08: Member of the press listen as US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman announces charges against Jeffery Epstein on July 8, 2019 in New York City. Epstein will be charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 08: A protest group called "Hot Mess" hold up signs of Jeffrey Epstein and President Donald Trump in front of the Federal courthouse on July 8, 2019 in New York City. According to reports, Epstein will be charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman speaks during a news conference, in New York, Monday, July 8, 2019. Federal prosecutors announced sex trafficking and conspiracy charges against wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein. Court documents unsealed Monday show Epstein is charged with creating and maintaining a network that allowed him to sexually exploit and abuse dozens of underage girls.(AP Photo/Richard Drew)
In this courtroom sketch, defendant Jeffrey Epstein, second from right, listens along with defense attorneys, from left, Marc Fernich, Michael Miller, and Martin Weinberg as Judge Richard M. Berman denies him bail during a hearing in federal court, Thursday, July 18, 2019 in New York. Judge Berman denied bail for the jailed financier on sex trafficking charges, saying the danger to the community that would result if the jet-setting defendant was free formed the "heart of this decision." (Aggie Kenny via AP)
FILE - This March 28, 2017, file photo, provided by the New York State Sex Offender Registry shows Jeffrey Epstein. A judge denied bail for jailed financier Jeffrey Epstein on sex trafficking charges Thursday, July 18, 2019, saying the danger to the community that would result if the jet-setting defendant was free formed the "heart of this decision." (New York State Sex Offender Registry via AP)
In this courtroom sketch, Judge Richard M. Berman speaking as he denies Jeffrey Epstein bail during a hearing in federal court, Thursday, July 18, 2019 in New York. Judge Berman denied bail for the jailed financier on sex trafficking charges, saying the danger to the community that would result if the jet-setting defendant was free formed the "heart of this decision." (Aggie Kenny via AP)
In this courtroom artist's sketch, defendant Jeffrey Epstein, left, and his attorney Martin Weinberg listen during a bail hearing in federal court, Monday, July 15, 2019 in New York. Epstein's lawyers want him released on house arrest to his Manhattan home while he awaits trial. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)
This courtroom sketch shows Judge Richard Berman as he speaks during the Jeffrey Epstein bail hearing in federal court, Monday July 15, 2019. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)
In this courtroom artist's sketch, defendant Jeffrey Epstein, left, listens as accuser Annie Farmer, second from right, speaks during a bail hearing in federal court, Monday, July 15, 2019 in New York. Farmer says she was 16 when she "had the misfortune" of meeting Epstein and later went to spend time with him in New Mexico. Accuser Courtney Wild, right, said in the hearing that she was abused by the wealthy financier in Palm Beach, Florida, starting at age 14. Epstein's lawyers want him released on house arrest to his Manhattan home while he awaits trial. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)
In this courtroom artist's sketch, defendant Jeffrey Epstein, left, and attorney Reid Weingarten, second from right, listen as attorney Martin Weinberg, right, speaks during a bail hearing in federal court, Monday, July 15, 2019 in New York. Epstein's lawyers have insisted he will not run. They want him released on house arrest to his Manhattan home while he awaits trial. Courtney Wild, third from left, said in the hearing that she was abused by the wealthy financier in Palm Beach, Florida, starting at age 14. She called him a "scary person" and urged detention "for the safety of any other girls" out there. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)
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Epstein, 66, was arrested last month on charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, which prosecutors allege involved girls as young as 14.

The alleged victims were recruited to provide "massages" to Epstein that would devolve into sexual abuse, according to unsealed court documents. Epstein pleaded not guilty to the charges, which carried a prison sentence of up to 45 years.

He was found unresponsive in his cell on the morning of August 10. The medical examiner last week ruled his death a suicide.

Read the full NPR story here »

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SEE ALSO: The famous connections of Jeffrey Epstein, the elite wealth manager who died in jail while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges

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