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Jeffrey Epstein ‘Friend’ Ghislaine Maxwell Has More Skeletons in Her Family Closet Than a House of Horrors
James Andanson/GettyMEYREUIL, France-Ghislaine Maxwell, 57, comes from a family by turns brilliant and accomplished, deceptive and doomed. Her backstory is full of sex and science, money and magical illusions. And today she is the world’s most wanted woman-at least by the media and Jeffrey Epstein’s victims.She is the youngest child of the notorious and disgraced British media mogul Robert Maxwell, rumored after his mysterious death in 1991 to have been an Israeli spy. She was the alleged paramour-turned-pimp for Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire pedophile who reportedly committed suicide in his cell on August 10.Jeffrey Epstein’s Girlfriend and Alleged Madam Ghislaine Maxwell Spotted at In-N-Out Burger in CaliforniaBut there are no known criminal charges against her, only allegations in a civil suit. Indeed, there is speculation she may be cooperating with federal prosecutors. And while she might have decided to hide out here in Provence at her sister’s house in the shadow of Cézanne’s favorite mountain, she was spotted Thursday in California eating a burger while reading a book about CIA heroes.Ghislaine Maxwell, in short, is a survivor.“In moments of greatest adversity, that’s where they’re the coolest; it’s bred into the family,” an executive with one of Robert Maxwell’s media companies said after his drowning upended his media empire and forced his wife and children to clean up the mess. “Maxwell’s whole life was ‘Never panic.’”As we looked for her in France in recent days, she was, of course, nowhere to be seen. But we did discover enough skeletons in the family closet (including those of her in-laws and their families) to fill a house of horrors.We searched near her dead mother’s estate east of here-and even at the bottom of a cliff in Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, a few hours from Meyreuil, where her brother-in-law Al Seckel, giver of TED talks on optical illusions, reportedly fell to his death in 2015 after he was exposed as a swindler in Los Angeles.We also looked at the family tree of her other brother-in-law, an American astrophysicist whose genius rocket scientist father Frank Malina at the Jet Propulsion Lab in California pioneered what would become NASA before he fled to France with J. Edgar Hoover's G-Men on his heels.For Ghislaine, presumably, outer space is not an option. But in point of fact, she does know how to operate a lot of exotic machinery. In addition to speaking four languages and holding a degree from Oxford, she’s a trained private helicopter pilot, a submersible pilot and qualified to operate undersea robots. Much was made of the latter qualifications when she was fund-raising for her now defunct TerraMar oceanic environmental project, which shuttered after Epstein’s arrest last month. Ghislaine, who wanted to be seen as a visionary, liked to hang out with others who cultivate that rep, and was pictured with Elon Musk, whose Space X program is based in Hawthorne, just south of Los Angeles.Ah, there’s a California connection again. But France is still where Ghislaine Maxwell’s family history begins. Both she and her mother, the elegant and long-suffering Elisabeth Maxwell, were born here. And while some French officials have called for an investigation into Epstein’s activities in Paris, where he had an opulent apartment, Ghislaine’s French connection goes back decades in the south. 542245882James AndansonIt also grew out of the horrors of Auschwitz, which wiped out Robert Maxwell’s parents and siblings and eventually inspired his French Protestant wife, Elisabeth, to become a renowned Holocaust scholar.And it includes Ghislaine’s very interesting American in-laws who moved back and forth between Provence, the Dordogne and the United States. Their roots involved the pioneering, often reckless rocket scientists of the 1930s who were called the “Suicide Squad” for their risky work at the Jet Propulsion Lab. Among their circle: L. Ron Hubbard of Scientology fame; the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman; and Briton Aleister Crowley, known for black magic and a sex cult.Maxwell family observers don’t find it strange that Ghislaine and some of her sisters were drawn to larger-than-life, certifiably strange men.“They attach themselves to bizarre psychopaths like their father,” says a researcher who delved into the family years ago. “Ghislaine wasn’t the only sister to hook up with a weird guy.”* * *The Father* * *The daddy issues-and the mysterious death issues-began with Robert Maxwell, born into poverty as Ján Ludvík Hyman Binyamin Hoch in Czechoslovakia in 1923. He wanted a big family to recreate, in a way, the siblings he lost to the Nazis, and he very much wanted riches and fame. He achieved all of it, including a seat in the British Parliament. But two of his children died young and greed overtook his ambition. Michael Ward/GettyWhen Robert Maxwell mysteriously disappeared from his yacht, the Lady Ghislaine, and his naked body was retrieved floating in the waters off the Canary Islands in November 1991, he already had been drowning in debt.His business empire was on the verge of ruin and he’d stolen, Bernie Madoff-style, more than $400 million from his employees’ pension funds to forestall bankruptcy. The Pulitzer-Prize-winning reporter Seymour Hersh had recently accused him of being a longtime Israeli intelligence agent in a book about Israel’s nuclear weapons arsenal, The Samson Option.The conspiracy theories surrounding Robert Maxwell’s death rivaled those of Epstein’s today, although the official take was that he fell off his boat during an early morning walk around the deck. Central Press/GettyEpstein, whose pal, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak often crashed at his $77 million Upper East Side apartment in New York, also has been accused of unsavory connections to Israel.“What are the driving forces that make people do things?’ Ghislaine’s mother Elisabeth asked about her husband in 1995 during a New York Times interview to promote her unusually candid autobiography, A Mind of My Own. In it she admitted Maxwell was a philanderer and often treated her badly-but she said she loved him.“I hope one day there will be a balance. That time passes, passions fall and eventually some truths emerge,” she said. “It was really a Greek tragedy that his path should have finished the way it did.”* * *The Kids* * *Two of Maxwell’s sons, Kevin and Ian, were investigated for fraud involving their father’s empire after his death and both were cleared in 1996, although at one point Kevin was banned from running a company in the U.K. for eight years. Both landed back in court in 2015 and 2016 facing bankruptcy issues involving another U.K. financial company to which they owed money.Maxwell biographer Tom Bower was sympathetic to the Maxwell kids, calling their problems, “the tragic legacy of a crooked father. His children just inherited an awful pack of cards.” Ian Maxwell, now 63, broke his silence about his father in an interview last year with the Sunday Times of London.“The embrace was suffocating and so loving and everything came your way,” he said. “But then if you were far away in disgrace or you had blotted your copybook, no matter what you had done you were cast out.”829876294Fiona Hanson - PA Images/GettyThe Oxford-educated Ghislaine, who used to be referred to reflexively as a “British socialite,” reportedly was her father’s favorite. But two of her sisters, the twins Isabel and Christine, now 69, are the most accomplished of the family. They are internet content pioneers who started Magellan, one of the first search engines, and were featured in Michael Wolff’s book, Burn Rate, about his foray into early startups. Jennifer Araoz Sues Ghislaine Maxwell for Alleged ‘Brutal Rape’ by EpsteinThe sisters (Christine was said to be the brains behind the operation) made millions when Magellan was later sold to the Excite search company. 1167965785James Andanson/GettyCuriously, Isabel followed in the family tradition of filing for bankruptcy in December 2015 despite having been a multi-millionaire. That move may have been related to the untimely demise at age 56 of her third husband, the infamous con man Al Seckel who, she later found out, was not legally her husband since he was still married to his first wife. In 2015, when he reportedly died, he was potentially on the hook for millions.Andreas Rentz/Getty* * *The Illusionist* * *Seckel was the subject of an extraordinary 5,000-word investigation earlier that same year by The Tablet’s Mark Oppenheimer that laid bare decades of a convoluted and litigious life as the “world’s greatest collector of optical illusions.” Seckel, the son of a refugee from the Nazis, moved to L.A. and used his wile and charm to pass himself off as an Ivy League graduate and double doctoral candidate at Caltech. Soon, Seckel zeroed in on the movers and shakers. “An age before Silicon Valley had captured the geek imagination,” Oppenheimer wrote, “Caltech and the surrounding aerospace industry was the frontier of nerd power and glory.” Seckel befriended and bewitched the Nobel Prize-winning physicists Richard Feynman and Murray Gell-Mann among other neuroscientists, as well as academics and even magicians like James Randi.Seckel then used those contacts to sell rare books to prestigious customers who were often hoodwinked out of thousands in bad deals. He moved on to co-opt the burgeoning field of optical illusion, popularizing the art of manipulating images by using research from others in books he wrote. (His daughter, Elizabeth Seckel, has built on her father’s work in optical illusion by pioneering something called “mirror box therapy.” Seckel brought her method, sponsored by the Clinton Global Initiative, to Haiti after the earthquake in 2012 to help recent amputees with their phantom limb pain.)In 2010, Seckel hosted a scientific conference on Jeffrey Epstein’s infamous private island with Gell-Mann, Leonard Mlodinow, who was Stephen Hawking’s co-author, and MIT’s Gerald Sussman. Oppenheimer told The Daily Beast this week that there was “no evidence” that Seckel or any of the scientists at the island party were involved in any sexual activity with young girls. In 2004 Seckel gave a TED talk that’s been viewed almost 2.5 million times about “perceptual illusions that fool our brains.” Because of Seckel’s shady past, it was not surprising that vague reports of his death-a perceptual illusion perhaps?-began popping up just weeks after Oppenheimer’s July 2015 story exposed him to hordes of creditors. A paid obituary was published on Legacy.com, supposedly after appearing in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, but it does not appear on the paper's website. One report has circulated around various Seckel-obsessed corners of the internet that his body was found at the bottom of a cliff near the home in France where he had moved with Isabel. But The Daily Beast could not locate any officials in the town where Seckel was last known to live who had any report of his death. Oppenheimer and others said they have not yet found proof, either. The Daily Beast was unable to reach Isabel Maxwell or Elizabeth Secker for comment.* * *Rocket Men* * *Christine Maxwell and her astrophysicist husband Roger Malina have, until recently at least, divided their time between their home here in Meyreuil and Dallas, Texas. Malina teaches at the University of Texas there and Christine is a doctoral candidate in the humanities department, a UT spokeswoman told The Daily Beast. Malina was also a director at an astrophysics center in Marseille until last year.Roger Malina is the son of Czechoslovak-born Frank Malina, an early Elon Musk type who was part of the ragtag group whose daring rocket experiments in 1930s Pasadena led to the formation of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in L.A., the precursor to NASA.Frank Malina’s best friend, Jack Parsons, was the most charismatic of the group. He led a double life with non-scientist friends like L. Ron Hubbard and Robert Heinlein, author of Stranger in a Strange Land, Starship Troopers, and other sci-fi classics. Parsons also joined an occult group involving the dark arts and sex fetishes founded by Aleister Crowley, an English occultist and magician. The book and CBS TV series Strange Angel are based on Parsons’ life.In an odd echo of Jeffrey Epstein’s reported desire to seed the human race with his own DNA, Parsons and Hubbard tried for a time to impregnate women to bring forth Babalon, a goddess described as the “Scarlet Woman” in the Themelic belief system to which Crowley subscribed. When Parsons died in a mysterious explosion at his home at age 37, he had stopped working for JPL and was for a time a consultant to Israel’s nascent rocket system. Media accounts at the time hinted at “sexual perversion,” “black robes,” “sacred fire” and “intellectual necromancy,” according to Vice-and there were also whispers that he might have been murdered.Frank Malina, Christine Maxwell Malina’s father-in-law, was more of a straight arrow than Parsons and fared better, at first. But some historians say he was cheated of his rightful place as a true hero of the early space race because of years of harassment by the FBI who labeled him a socialist during the McCarthy years because he had campaigned against racial segregation, and raised money for republicans in the Spanish Civil War. After World War II he fled to Paris, where he became a painter and watched the space program soar from afar.Encyclopaedia Britannica/GettyIn a brutal twist, Wernher von Braun, a Nazi rocket scientist who was brought to the U.S. as part of Operation Paperclip, the government program that brought Nazi scientists to build American rockets, became the face of the early space program that some feel Malina deserved to have been.Roger Malina blogs about his famous father on his website where he wrote last year: “Yes, Elon Musk, they triggered in the USA the work that led to your ‘strange’ vision-and they did it a stone’s throw from where your company SpaceX is currently headquartered. And you are dreaming the same dreams as the ‘suicide squad,’ as they were called, at Caltech in the 1930s.”Looking back, that does seem a strange sobriquet, and oddly appropriate, if not for the rocket builders of 80 years ago, then for the Maxwells and those who were close to them.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
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Church should offer more open-ended resources such as meditation, discussion groups and even nature walks. Let teens come to God in their own way.
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Photo Illustration by Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast / Photos Paul Archuleta/GettyAs one of the top actresses in porn, Bree Olson was living comfortably-earning upwards of $3,500 per scene, raking in awards, and jet-setting across the world. Not bad for a gal from Woodburn, Indiana (population: 1,600). Then Charlie Sheen happened. The year was 2011, and Olson found herself swept up in the Two and a Half Men star’s midlife meltdown-“tiger blood,” “winning,” anti-Semitic rants at his boss. It played out very publicly, with news networks salivating over every head-scratching, foot-in-mouth moment. She and Natalie Kenly were reduced to the actor’s live-in “goddesses,” slut-shamed and branded enablers by the prying public due to their sex-worker occupations. It was a convenient narrative-and a false one. Olson’s real story is far more complicated, and now, years removed from that chaotic chapter in her life-and happily engaged to her fiancé, Kayla-she’s willing to tell it. When we spoke four years ago, you had just left the adult industry. And I know you’ve spoken-and written-about the unfair stigma that society places on those in the adult industry. I mean, keep in mind I do live in the Bible Belt so I’m sort of setting myself up for failure here, but I went to get my taxes done this past year and tried a new person. I was trying to be vague about what I did for a living, and at the time was just texting with fans, which was something I did through my website. And he kept prying and saying, “I don’t understand how somebody could make this much money texting. Who are you? Who are you?!” and I was like, “Oh, it’s nothing”-just trying to sweep it under the rug. So he goes over to his computer and says, “If you don’t tell me who you are, I’m going to google your name right now.” I just started crying right then and there. I told him I used to work in the adult industry, and he said he couldn’t work with me because of his religious beliefs. So I left very upset, and it’s not abnormal for me to experience people turning me away. I’ve got a double-hurdle being LGBTQ and from the adult industry. The only reason I would dissuade someone [from the adult industry] is it does make life harder afterwards. It’s not impossible but provides more hurdles to jump over. Mia Khalifa Opens Up About Life After Porn: ‘I’m Ashamed of My Past’Why Porn Has Gotten So RoughRight. So your gripe is not with the adult industry but rather the hypocritical way that society treats adult performers-judging them while regularly consuming their content. A hundred percent. When I got involved in the adult industry, I was doing everything “right.” I worked a full-time job and was a full-time student studying pre-med biology [at Purdue University Fort Wayne], and yet I was living in a hotel. I was in a really tough life circumstance, and because of the industry, I was able to get a house, I’m now building my second custom house, and I’ve traveled all over the world. Coming from such a small town like Woodburn, Indiana, the mindset when you haven’t traveled, seen different types of things, taken in different cultures, you can be more susceptible to being closed-minded. But being able to get out and see the world was so educational to me, and it gave me growth that I truly believe I would not have found otherwise.Then your experience in the adult industry was positive.There’s that reality documentary on Netflix called Hot Girls Wanted-that could not be more inaccurate, from my experience in the industry. It made me really angry to see the industry being depicted in that way. Not to take away from those girls’ stories in that documentary, because that is their truth, but the hub of the adult industry is located in Los Angeles, and if you’re with one of the top agents in Los Angeles, you’re not going to be sent to be put into these predicaments. You’ll be sent to professional sets where-and not a lot of people know this-the camera and lighting guys are from the mainstream side of the industry, and they just need the extra money so they shoot, light and sound porn on the low while keeping their names off it. Everyone is super-professional; nobody is trying anything weird. I never saw drugs on a porn set. I don’t think I’ve even seen drinking on a porn set. Now, was everything sunshine and roses and all that? No. There are positives and negatives to every side, and I’m the perfect person to talk to about this, because I’ll be straight down the line. What didn’t sit right with you?There are no royalties in the porn industry; and on top of that, when someone would pay me $3,500 for one scene-and this was back in the DVD days-they could then take that scene and put it in another DVD, but I don’t get anything extra from it. They can use that as much as they want. I think it would be really great if the talent in the porn industry could become unionized or something of the sort to where people can’t take advantage in that way. Right. And there’s a sprawling company like MindGeek that not only controls the major tube sites but also operates many of the biggest studios, so it’s exerting an incredible amount of control over the pay structure for performers. Exactly. It’s been very difficult. The music industry took a huge hit with the internet but I feel like it’s coming back around with Apple Music and all that. Me, I’m subscribed so I pay for music, and I know a lot of people who do too, so I think porn will hopefully make its way back around like that. I put in good time into the adult industry not making royalties, so FanCentro is a way for me to capitalize on my name, continue making money, and interact with my fans. What’s it been like navigating life post-adult industry? I officially left when I was 25 and now I’m 32-I’ve tried to lie about that but it’s on Wikipedia, so I can’t-so I’m seven years out and was only in it for five years, so I’ve spent more time out than in, but my life has still heavily revolved around the name. Going back to the royalties, I have rode off my name as hard as I possibly can, because why not? So, I’ve been my own business owner, can work from home and make my own hours. With things like camming and FanCentro, you don’t have to worry about other performers, getting tested, or this and that. It’s just yourself. Now you’re dictating all the terms.Yes. To be in full control-like I said, my experience in the adult industry with other performers and being on set was really as good as you could ask for. Everyone was extremely professional. I mean these guys, they’re slinging two chicks a day-it’s just a job to them like anything else. But I could imagine for girls, like the ones in [Hot Girls Wanted], if you aren’t in L.A., in the right circle, or with the right agent, or it’s jut not your cup of tea, then you can make a great amount of money by yourself in your bedroom or your bathroom. Bree Olson at the 29th annual AVN Awards Show at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on January 21, 2012, in Las Vegas, Nevada.Ethan Miller/GettyWhat was your experience like trying to break into Hollywood? We’ve discussed the unfair stigma that follows people in the adult industry, and there’s only been a few actors who have managed to crossover into mainstream parts-like Traci Lords and Sasha Grey.It seemed like a natural transition because, even though there’s sex involved in porn, you go to a set and learn a script-even though porn scripts can be sort of a joke-but it’s the same type of work, as far as sitting in makeup, dealing with the crew, you name it. But I went from being such a big fish in a small pond to a small fish in a huge ocean, and I didn’t like it. You look at actors like Bryan Cranston from Breaking Bad. Look at how long he had to work! You have to be truly passionate about acting and sometimes willing to do it for 10, 20, 30 years before your big break. And a lot of these actors have been studying acting since high school-it’s their passion, and I did not have that. I do not have that passion for acting. I was like, this isn’t working out and I don’t care enough. It’s no secret that there are a lot of creepy guys in Hollywood. Because of your past in porn, did you encounter Hollywood guys with bad intentions?Oh, it was bad. It got to a point where I said, “If you want to talk with me, there’s no point in doing coffee. If you have something to say, call me or email me. We don’t need to ‘meet for coffee.’” I quickly learned what “meeting for coffee” meant. I’m feisty, so I shot things down pretty quick. If they started to go in that direction-acting flirtatious, saying inappropriate things-I would grab my stuff and leave. I’m not about to do that. It’s one thing when I was in the industry and I’m getting paid as a professional but it’s still very different outside of that. I’m not going to sleep for a part or do this and that. If you don’t want to give me a role, well then fine, I’ll move on. And I know that for girls who even aren’t in porn that’s how it works sometimes, which is so sad. Just to backtrack a bit: Why did you decide to leave the adult industry in the first place? How did you reach that decision?It’s kind of sad. I got with a very famous Hollywood actor [Charlie Sheen], and up until that point, I had a very close-knit circle of friends and was not very public about my life. I would shoot in L.A., fly back home to Indiana, and hang with my good ol’ Indiana friends sitting around bonfires. Well, I got with that actor and then my whole life fell under a microscope. I saw myself getting criticized on huge networks by huge reporters-who I’ve literally watched since I was a child-saying publicly that I would be a bad mother, that I’m not a good influence, and basically disgracing me because I was a porn star. In short, I left because of what everyone said on TV about me; and being naïve, I thought that getting out would make people think differently, which is not true. That I learned. How Is Serial Abuser Charlie Sheen Surviving the 2017 Hollywood Purge?How Much Money Do Porn Stars Actually Get Paid for Sex Scenes?Looking back on that crazy period with Charlie Sheen, do you have any regrets about that whole episode? Is there anything you would have maybe done differently? I would have never spoke to him. I was at the height of my career, it was going wonderfully, I had this huge trip to Japan planned, I was making so much money, and everything was going great. It was a big mistake. A big mistake. There have been some disturbing allegations surrounding Charlie Sheen and I’m curious if he was ever violent towards you. He was not violent physically but he had a very hostile attitude. He was extremely controlling. I never spoke about it when we initially split up because I’m not that type of person, but after the whole thing came out about him having HIV and the possibility that he could have had that during the time we were dating, that of course made me very upset. I’m like, “Well, forget it then.” I’m the type of person who’s friends with a lot of my exes but I don’t know what could be more upsetting for an ex to do than to possibly have had HIV while we’re together and not have told me. It’s just terrible. I can’t imagine what that must have been like.I started to get phone calls. It’s really unfortunate, because I had just moved from L.A. to Indiana to start writing my book. Life was peaceful and great. I literally sat down to write, and then an influx of calls came in from all the big networks-NBC, ABC, everyone-asking, “Is it true that Charlie has HIV?” I thought, “There’s no way this is true,” but after the third or fourth phone call, I thought, well, I need to get ahead of this, and there’s no one I trust more than Howard Stern. As silly as that may sound to some people, anyone who’s paid attention to Howard knows he’s a great interviewer, and him and I always had an amazing rapport when I would be on his show. So I wanted to go on Howard instead of going on one of the big networks because I wanted to make sure I would be able to tell my full, unedited story. As I was walking into the building to go on Howard, I’m watching on my phone-on live television-Charlie telling the world that he was HIV positive. At the time I was doing cam modeling and making a great deal of money, and to be a cam model and be associated with anyone who had HIV-even though I don’t have it, and proved publicly that I don’t have it-was detrimental to my career. So going on Howard and giving my test results was pure defense. It was just so much damage control, and I’m still recovering from it emotionally. I’m very sorry you had to go through that. Also, I’d like to say that I know tons of people with HIV who are living full, happy, healthy lives. I don’t have any problems with anyone that is HIV positive. My problem lies in the fact that I was with a partner that potentially lied to me about being positive, and having unprotected sex with me. It’s not right. So your experiences with Hollywood have not been great. I guess not! Everything was fine in the porn industry though. Isn’t it funny to think about? Tell me a little bit about this book you’re working on. It’s a memoir?Yes. It’s fascinating to me-the different ways that people are brought up and their childhoods. My childhood was very tough, so it’s about that. This is a saying that I have: Not all women with a traumatic childhood go into porn, but all women that are in porn had a traumatic childhood. I may get some hate for that from some girls, but for the longest time I was in the adult industry, I would not admit that. I’d say, “Oh, everything was fine, I had a great upbringing,” but that’s not the truth. I want people to know that because I feel like people have this idea in their minds where everything was hunky-dory and then this woman just decided to throw her life away and get into the industry when oftentimes, when women get ready to go into the industry, that may be one of their only options at that moment in time. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
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"Look at Trump's Twitter ... he's watching antifa. That's all we wanted," boasts former Infowars staffer and protest organizer Joe Biggs.