Remember Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich? I only just flushed the taint of that blatantly sexist and alarmingly exploitative account of Epstein’s many alleged victims out of my system. Right on time, too, because the menace behind it, producer and author James Patterson, has been greenlit on a new docuseries about the hunt for Ghislaine Maxwell.
What could possibly go wrong?
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Discovery+’s Chasing Ghislaine “will feature exclusive access to more than 30 filmed interviews.” A press release added that the series will expose “the mystery behind Epstein’s wealth and influence and how Maxwell’s alleged role within this conspiracy threatens a shadowy cabal of international elite and world leaders who might do anything to keep their identities—and motives—hidden.”
It is filmed by filmmaker and investigative journalist Vicky Ward, best known as the reporter who claimed that her 2003 Vanity Fair profile of Epstein had been eviscerated by then-EIC Graydon Carter. Ward said Carter cut out details of Epstein’s alleged sexual abuses and crimes and turned her story into a lavish, risque portrait. (Carter, in turn, denied her allegations by casting aspersions on her reporting.)
In a comment to Politico earlier in May, Ward added that an additional Vanity Fair story “has my byline but was commissioned and edited—and published—by Vanity Fair” and that she did not approve such gruesome phrases like “sexual peccadillos.” She added that she would detail the allegations she dug up “in my own narrative” in her forthcoming documentary and podcast series, presumably referring to Chasing Ghislaine.
Lisa Holme, Senior VP of Content and Commercial Strategy at Discover Inc. told the Hollywood Reporter of the recent acquisition:
“Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial is expected to start in November, and we have the definitive look at the man and his alleged primary co-conspirator, who many believe holds the keys to the remaining mysteries of Epstein’s operations, including the web of men whose money propped him up and allowed him to victimize young girls for nearly two decades.”
In her review of Patterson’s last production on Epstein, Filthy Rich, Jezebel’s Emily Alford wrote that the film “appears consistently dazzled by Epstein’s money,” and “ignores glaring connections between Epstein’s friends and the legacy of silence around the sexual abuse of women and girls.”
Who knows! It could actually be good this time around, seeing that Ward later came forward and said she’d originally pursued details of his alleged sexual abuses back in 2003. But while the director’s chair might have changed hands between Filthy Rich’s Lisa Bryant to Ward, I still can’t help but feel a cold, sinking dread.