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Media Meltdowns

BBC Very Sorry For Inviting An Accused Epstein Collaborator On To Talk About Ghislaine Maxwell

Alan Dershowitz leaping into his defense of Alan Dershowitz
Screenshot: BBC

In one sense, longtime Harvard Law professor and expert age of consent-knower Alan Dershowitz is a great person to ask for on-the-record takes on the Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein case. This is because Dershowitz has his own connections to Epstein. Dershowitz flew on Epstein’s infamous “Lolita Express” plane several times between 1997 and 2005, and served as his lawyer and friend for decades, a period which included the negotiation of a plea deal that immunized all “potential co-conspirators” from justice (the deal was so heinous the Justice Department had to apologize for it a decade later). Dershowitz has also been accused by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, one of Epstein’s most prominent victims, of repeatedly sexually abusing her.

All of which is to say, there are plenty of things Dershowitz should have to answer for relating to Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell and the nexus of powerful people around them. Also, he’ll talk to anyone who calls him! He even brought up, unprompted, the various age of consent laws across various U.S. states in an interview on Da Ali G Show.

What you should not do is invite Dershowitz onto your live coverage of the Ghislaine Maxwell verdict as a disambiguated legal expert without disclosing any of his connections to the case, which is what the BBC did yesterday. Maxwell had just been convicted on five of six charges, including sex trafficking, and so the network called up Dershowitz and had him break down the case. He didn’t even really succeed in clearing that low bar, instead pivoting away from every topic relating to Maxwell to start whining about how Giuffre was a liar and a bad person.

This would be a serious fuckup for anyone with access to an internet search engine, and it’s even worse for the BBC in particular. Though Maxwell was convicted in a Manhattan courtroom and Epstein was American, this case has been an even bigger news story in the U.K. than here in the U.S., so it’s difficult to see how this could have been an accident. Maxwell is the daughter of British media baron and Mossad “superspy” Robert Maxwell, and one of the other men Giuffre has accused of sexual abuse is Prince Andrew (Giuffre filed a U.S. civil suit against him this past August.)

The fallout for the BBC came swiftly, as everyone asked, Hey, why did you guys bring on an accused Epstein co-conspirator to talk about this case? The news outlet had to apologize, initiate an investigation—perhaps they will learn to use the aforementioned search engine—and pronounced that the interview did not meet their editorial standards. As for Dershowitz, he was very clear: He has been accused of sex crimes.

What a wild oversight. Inviting an accused Epstein associate onto your show to talk about Epstein’s deputy would be like, I don’t know, interviewing a literal Pinochet about Chilean elections.