There are many names that have cropped up alongside Jeffrey Epstein in the months since his death and even more since his arrest for sex trafficking charges. (The August 2019 incident, not to be confused with his 2008 guilty plea for soliciting sex from a minor.) One of those names is Peggy Siegal—a public relations maven known for her star-studded award show season events, and a woman that the New York Times labeled one of Epstein’s “social guarantors.” Since then, Siegal has been mostly shunned by her industry for her relationship with Epstein, which included inviting him to events and, according to a new profile in Vanity Fair, hosting a dinner in his home and attending a post-Yom Kippur breakfast there. Siegal maintains Epstein was never a client, and now blames the press for turning her into a pariah.
The Vanity Fair profile is full of questionable quotes from Siegal, but none as damning as when she discussed a less-than-glowing Hollywood Reporter article published last summer. Titled “Peggy Siegal and Jeffrey Epstein: A Hollywood Event Planner’s Symbiotic Relationship With a Sex Offender,” the article accused Siegal of assisting in facilitating Epstein’s return to high society after his initial conviction of pedophilia. Siegal told VF she first read the story at four in the morning, and then proceeded to compare it to the Holocaust:
“I’m going, this can’t be happening. This is what it’d be like to go to your own funeral. Or to be a casualty of war. I mean, if I had been in Nazi Germany, it could not have been worse. I thought, Oh, my God, I’m on the train station. I’m getting on that train and I’m going to the camps. And this is exactly what came to mind. This is the kind of political, social, horrific nightmare that came to fruition…. Life has come full circle. I’ve finally been attacked for nothing more than being Jewish, or being a woman, or being at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Of course, after the Hollywood Reporter article came out, Siegal was removed from a few jobs, including two events for Netflix’s The Politician. According to Vanity Fair, she’s only landed one job since. I’d love to know which business said yes.
She also maintains that she did not know about “the underage girls,” and believes she has been singled out by the press for being a woman:
“The men are fine,” she said, referring to Epstein associates such as Gates, Wexner, and Leon Black. “They’re moving on with their billions, and their jets, and their families, and their businesses. It’s—it’s a little—it’s just odd that a single woman who’s done nothing but kill herself for filmmakers has had to suffer like this. It’s completely unfair.”
“I am a publicist, in the perception business, and I have been a victim of perception,” she said.
That’s true. She is a publicist, in the perception business—which makes her a veteran at finding the most astute and manipulative angle to revive a dead career. Hmm.
Read the full article here.
Update (4:49 p.m.): Peggy Siegal sent Jezebel the following statement:
“I certainly did not mean to offend anyone. The comparison was an insensitive exaggeration. I honestly apologize. There is no way to compare inhumane discrimination of the most heinous evil of the Holocaust to anything. Again, I am so terribly sorry.”