Both convicted sex offenders, Jeffrey Epstein and Harvey Weinstein used massages as a pathetic pretext to assault several women. The two were also long-time friends. Currently, there are two documentaries showcasing their lives and misconduct that will hopefully spur worldwide outrage. While the Hollywood producer’s many misdeeds are captured in the 2019 effort titled Untouchable, it’s Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich that documents the finance maven’s survivors. Through four agonising episodes — the series is based on the 2016 book of the same name by James Patterson — director Lisa Bryant focuses the spotlight on the women who painfully recount their experiences with Epstein.
The show introduces the survivors who were tricked into massaging a ‘rich old guy’ before becoming embroiled in an international sex-trafficking ring. Each tearful admittance is accompanied with guilt at furthering the sex pyramid scheme. With sharp direction and a flair to elicit uncomfortable details, Bryant shuts down those who could judge even for a second that the fault may lie in the survivors. Epstein preyed exclusively on women from broken homes, vulnerable and poor who’d do almost anything to escape their circumstances. As the show progresses, so does the chronicling of Epstein’s evil. From exploiting scores of women — which was first reported to the FBI as early as 1996 — to his manipulation of those in power, to accumulate wealth and then to get away with a slap on the wrist instead of a harsh conviction. Case in point, former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Alexander Acosta who approved of a plea deal that allowed Epstein to practically go scot-free. Acosta would later become United States Secretary of Labor under Donald Trump’s presidency.
Bryant’s deliberate directorial approach compells hot seething anger at how entitled powerful white men go unpunished for their crimes. Worse yet is when law enforcement — in this case Florida police department officers — are arm-twisted and intimidated from doing their jobs. Or when those in power, willingly refuse to protect the innocent and victimised. Epstein (Weinstein too) bought his freedom with money and connections in spite of the magnitude and number of his crimes. Bryant interviews former employees, law enforcement officers, lawyers and private investigators. Each revelation not only corroborates the survivors’ claims but further ignites rage. Especially, when it becomes unequivocally clear that Epstein was encouraged and protected by many rich and powerful people, including Trump and Weinstein.
Filthy Rich doesn’t present any new information or shocking details that weren’t already in public purview. Instead it gathers everything, often untidily, under one roof: a one-stop-shop of everything you wanted to know about Epstein. But it does birth a fury that could never be as potent if not for its existence. It’s also proof that justice can be achieved, even if it is at a snail’s pace with plenty of disappointments along the way. Let it never be said that the #MeToo movement amounted to nothing. It really is Time’s Up.
Both Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich and Untouchable are currently streaming on Netflix