Public relations powerhouse Peggy Siegal, whose ties to pedophile Jeffrey Epstein have made her a pariah, compared negative press coverage to the Holocaust and being sent to a concentration camp.
The former A-lister is one of many high-profile Manhattanites accused of welcoming multimillionaire Epstein with open arms after he was convicted of sex crimes in 2008. Siegal has admitted to inviting Epstein to several of her high-society events, exchanging favors with him and hosting a dinner at his home, though she says he was never a client.
After Epstein’s arrest on sex-trafficking charges this summer, The New York Times ran an article calling Siegal one of the “social guarantors” who allowed him to seep back into public life. In a Vanity Fair profile published Monday, she compared the negative publicity to “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,” she continued. “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.”
In a statement to The Daily Beast, Siegal apologized for the comments, calling them “an insensitive exaggeration.”
“I certainly did not mean to offend anyone,” she said. “There is no way to equate inhumane discrimination to today’s media fear factor. I honestly apologize.”
Siegal has claimed she was unaware of the extent of Epstein’s crimes, which allegedly include trafficking girls as young as 12 years old across state lines, according to a lawsuit unsealed by Virgin Islands prosecutors last week. She said Epstein promised her he had changed his ways, and that she didn't pay attention to the articles accusing him of sexual abuse or the ages of his dates.
Still, the revelations about Siegal’s involvement with Epstein were disastrous to her business. Several movie studios cut ties with her this award season. She told Vanity Fair she had only landed one paying job since the scandal broke and has laid off eight employees. She has attended only one major film premiere since.
“It was tough for her in the summer,” one acquaintance told Town and Country. “When I saw her she said, ‘Nobody wants to be seen with me, and I don’t have any jobs.’”