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Naomi Campbell calls out newspaper for “character assassination”

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Almara Abgarian
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Naomi Campbell giving a speech

The British Fashion Council is honouring the supermodel for her philanthropic work on Fashion For Relief, which prompted the Mail on Sunday to write a scathing piece about her past. Naomi Campell responded to claims made in the article through a video on YouTube. 

Naomi Campbell has many accolades to her name.

She is a successful businesswoman, model and actress. As one of only a few models in the world to have earned herself the title of supermodel, she is often credited with having paved the way for black women in the fashion industry. 

What’s more, the supermodel is also a dedicated activist who supports the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and, she is also the founder of We Love Brazil, a charity set up to fight poverty in the South American country.

More recently, she has been working on Fashion For Relief, an organisation that raises money for environmental and humanitarian causes. For her work with the charity, as well as contribution to the fashion industry, she will be given the Fashion Icon Award by the British Fashion Council at a ceremony to be held in December.

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Despite her philanthropic efforts, Campbell is sometimes criticised for her past, most recently in an article published by the Mail on Sunday.

Within the piece, she is described as “something of a drama queen, notorious for hurling jewel-encrusted phones and raging at her staff” with “four convictions of assault to her name”. 

The article goes on to reference Campbell’s social life, including her connection to Jeffrey Epstein, the disgraced multimillionaire who was convicted for sex trafficking of minors and died in prison earlier this month. 

Other incidents mentioned include her attending Gaston Glock’s 90th birthday – he owns a company that manufactures handguns – and being called as a witness at the trial for Charles Taylor, the former president of Liberia, who has been accused of war crimes. 

Additionally, the article mentions Mike Tyson, Flavio Briatore, Harvey Weinstein, Lalit Modi and Kevin Spacey.

In an interview posted to YouTube on Wednesday, Campbell addresses the claims made in the article and calls out the Mail on Sunday for “character assassination”. 

“I was shocked by this article in Mail on Sunday, I’ve always said that I’m not a saint, that I am a work in progress but I will not be held hostage by my past,” she can be heard saying in the video.

“Fashion For Relief is something that came to my mind in 2005. We started with Hurricane Katrina, we’ve helped the floods in Japan, we’ve worked with a great association, Save the Children, we’ve worked with Sarah Brown, the former prime minister’s wife, Gordon Brown’s wife, White Ribbon Alliance, maternal health, ebola crisis, the floods in the UK, I mean it goes on.

“I’m not gonna stop and I won’t be undermined or have my team be undermined for all their great work and for all the people that have collaborated and supported the cause that Fashion For Relief chooses each year.”

The questions that follow seem deliberately planned out in order to let Campbell express her thoughts on various aspects of the article, including the British Fashion Council honouring her for her philanthropic work.

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Speaking of Fashion For Relief, she said: “To focus on the negative and say, this is a vanity charity, there’s no vanity about it.”

Campbell also claims that she was not given a chance to “respond” to the article and that she feels it is “a direct character assassination”. 

As for the links to Epstein and photos that show the pair together, she reveals that she had met the disgraced financier through her boyfriend and was not aware of his criminal actions.

“What he’s done is indefensible, and when I’d heard about what he’d done, it sickened me to my stomach just like everyone else,” Campbell said.

 “I’ve had my fair share of sexual predators.”

Naomi Campbell in a Fashion For Relief t-shirt

The interview is just over five minutes long and also discusses how the supermodel feels about journalism following recent events, and her hesitation for taking photos with people in the future, as these can be “taken out of context”.

In the final few seconds, a message appears on the screen as a warning to others of the dangers of becoming guilty by association.

“The frightening conclusion here, is that if the negative action of your neighbour, colleague, or even an associate can somehow make you feel guilty too, simply by association, then we indeed to live in worrying times,” it reads.

“This affects us all. It’s wrong, it’s unfair and it must be stopped.”

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