Naomi Campbell
Photo: Getty

Naomi Campbell has responded to scathing claims about her past in a new YouTube interview, calling out the authoring newspaper for “character assassination”.

In June, it was announced the supermodel will be honoured later this year by the British Fashion Council for her contribution to the fashion industry, as well as her philanthropic work on Fashion For Relief, an organisation that raises money for environmental and humanitarian causes.

However, the news of her impending accolade seemingly prompted an article in the Mail on Sunday, delving into the model’s controversial past, and describing her 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”.

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The unflattering article also addressed her ties to disgraced multi-millionaire Jeffrey Epstein, who was convicted for sex trafficking of minors and who died in prison earlier this month. It also mentioned Mike Tyson, Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey.

However, in an interview posted to her own YouTube channel, Campbell has called out the article as a “distorted piece of journalism”. During the five-minute video with an unknown interviewer, she says: “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.”

“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,” she says of her charity work.

Speaking to her links to Epstein, she says she had only met the disgraced mogul through her boyfriend and was not aware of his criminal behaviour: “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.”

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Campbell also claims she was not given the opportunity to respond to the allegations in the the article, adding it was a “direct character assassination”.

While she says she has done “great interviews” throughout her illustrious career, she also addresses journalism more generally, pointing out her hesitation for taking photos with people as they can be “taken out of context” and warning of the dangers of becoming guilty by association, “then we indeed live in worrying times.”

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

This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR UK.

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