Ghislaine Maxwell’s Haunting 40th Birthday Present to Jeffrey Epstein

Ghislaine Maxwell’s Haunting 40th Birthday Present to Jeffrey Epstein

Jeffrey Epstein’s 40th birthday party was not what Christopher Mason expected.

The British journalist arrived at Epstein’s townhouse that evening, in what would have been January 1993, not as a guest, but as a sort of paid entertainment. As a hobby, Mason wrote and performed satirical songs—musical roasts that he custom-created for his subjects. Maxwell, who seemed to be dating Epstein at the time, had commissioned the Cambridge-educated writer to craft this kind of personalized musical toast for Epstein.

“Ghislaine was pretty specific and controlling,” Mason told Vanity Fair this week. “When I do those songs—and I still occasionally do them—my preferred way of doing it is to speak with as many people as I can so I can get a real idea of the person and as much comic information as possible. But Ghislaine was very clear that I wasn’t to speak to anyone else, that all the information was to come from Ghislaine.”

At the time it had been two years since Maxwell’s father, the media baron Robert Maxwell, died amidst a sensational scandal that left his family broke and hunted by tabloids. Mason was in touch with Maxwell around the time of her father’s death. “The impression was that all the money was gone, and she had gone from privilege and private planes to penury and dejection,” said Mason. “She didn’t have any specific ideas [about a career], but she was young and energetic and ambitious, and I felt fairly sure that, even though she was in a precarious state, she would somehow rise, phoenix-like. And sure enough, she did, within a year.

“It appeared that she was suddenly flush again and dating Jeffrey,” said Mason. “And it seems the whole point of Jeffrey was that he was staggeringly successful. Ghislaine loved repeating the story that he managed people’s money, but he only took on people with a minimum of a billion dollars a year. And suddenly there was bright talk of private air travel and yachts, and she seemed to be back in the fast lane.”

Maxwell had only been publicly linked to Epstein for months at the time of his 40th birthday in 1993. But judging by the details Mason said Maxwell fed him about Epstein, it sounds as though the socialite already had a vivid sense of Epstein’s interest in young women and insatiable sexual appetite. Nearly 30 years later—as the socialite sits in a detention center having pleaded not guilty to six federal crimes, including enticement of minors and sex trafficking—the alleged lyrics are eery in their perverse prescience.

Recalled Mason, “She wanted me to mention that when Epstein was teaching at the Dalton School, he was the subject of many schoolgirl crushes.” At the time Mason thought it was “kind of an odd thing to want in a song about a man who appears to be your boyfriend. But she clearly thought that that was something that was going to amuse him. Another odd thing that she wanted me to say was that he had 24-hour erections.”

Mason said he brushed off these details as being “brash, possibly hyperbolic things…She had a mischievous wit,” he explained.

Maxwell’s recent indictment charges her with assisting, facilitating, and contributing to the abuse of minor girls beginning in 1994, the year after Mason would have been commissioned by Maxwell. The night of Epstein’s birthday party, Mason said he arrived at Epstein’s townhouse and was told by Maxwell to change into Epstein’s karate uniform. “I think he was studying at the time,” Mason said. “He was really into it, and she somehow knew that he would recognize his own outfit. I guess that was designed to sort of take him by surprise.”

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