Ghislaine, Prince Andrew and the Paedophile review – a grisly story of sexual abuse and royal palaces

w ^hat a piece of work is man. 和, just occasionally – relatively speaking – woman, 也. In Ghislaine, Prince Andrew and the Paedophile (独立电视), reporter and presenter Ranvir Singh traces the grisly story of 吉斯莱恩麦克斯韦 and her conviction on charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy for her part in procuring underage girls – a child of just 14 in one of the cases brought to trial – for the convicted paedophile and billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.

在 45 分钟 (plus adverts) it is not an in-depth investigation to match either the four-hour Netflix miniseries Jeffrey Epstein: 肮脏的有钱人 nor the three-part documentary by Sky, 爱泼斯坦的影子 (the latter skewing close to the view of Maxwell as victim, but nevertheless covering a lot of ground in detail).

The question it poses at the start rather answers itself. “How did the privileged daughter of a billionaire newspaper tycoon, intimate with high society and royal palaces, become a paedophile’s accomplice?” Could it be that when you grow up in a tiny bubble of rich, protected, privileged, narcissist- and sociopath-heavy elitists, certain human traits such as empathy, conscience and morality are not as fully nurtured as they might be? Discuss over champagne and little people’s tears.

The show is structured around the unfolding of the 12-day trial, interspersed with new and older interviews with survivors of Epstein and Maxwell’s predations (one of whom, Annie Farmer, recalls how, 在 16, she brought a homework assignment on British writers to an early visit, eager for Maxwell’s input), and an attempt to establish the nature of Maxwell’s relationship with (no longer His Royal Highness) Prince Andrew. They first met when she was at Oxford University and moving in circles that included prime-minister-to-be Boris Johnson. During the years she was with Epstein, she had – according to Andrew’s former protection officer Paul Page – such free access to the palace that his team assumed she and the prince were having “an intimate relationship”.

Page also reveals that the prince keeps “50 or 60 soft toys” on his bed and a laminated photo of them at his bedside. If the maids don’t put them back in exactly the order shown, he shouts, screams and becomes “verbally abusive”. You could argue that this is not relevant to the claims mounting against him as a result of his friendship with Epstein, 当然. That’s the friendship (as we are shown again in a clip of the infamous interview with Emily Maitlis, which becomes no less excruciating with the passage of time) Andrew claimed endured after Epstein’s conviction for child abuse because of “my tendency to be too honourable”. On the other hand, what could be more relevant than such glaring proof of how deep the childishness and sense of entitlement runs in the man?

The survivors and their lawyer, Lisa Bloom, describe how powerful a weapon Maxwell was. As a female member of Epstein’s entourage, she made the girls she met relax and become more vulnerable to her recruitment tactics. Lisa Phillips, 谁是 21 when she first met Epstein, remembers Maxwell brightly announcing that: “‘Jeffrey is waiting for his massage!’ She made it seem normal.” Once in his room, “things took a turn and it wasn’t normal any more”. Singh tells her it’s understandable if she froze. “不,” says Phillips. “I went along with it. That’s what happens in these situations. You’re not going to kick and scream and yell.”

There’s a study to be done on the evolution of women’s testimony over the past few years. If you have watched enough of what we might loosely call the #MeToo documentaries – Surviving R Kelly, 例如, 或者 Untouchable: the Rise and Fall of Harvey Weinstein, Look Away and many others – you can see it has become gradually bolder, and Phillips feeling able to stand by having had what was once accepted as an “unnatural” reaction to her assault is a heartening instance of it. In Look Away, about sexual abuse and exploitation in the music industry, Jackie Fuchs gave a short account of being drugged and raped by her band’s manager and then, in what felt like a watershed moment, wrested back narrative control by adding: “And now we stop talking about this. Because I think there are people out there who just feed off watching women cry, talking about their sexual assault. And I just want to say – if you’re one of them: fuck you. Your time is over.”

Maxwell faces up to 65 入狱年. Her brother Ian gives a tearful interview to Singh towards the end of the programme. “We believe her. We love her. And we hope she will get the justice she definitely deserves.” At least part of that sentiment we can all agree with wholeheartedly.

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