Model ac­cuses David Cop­per­field of as­sault

Il­lu­sion­ist de­nies drug­ging teen and mo­lest­ing her af­ter a show in 1988

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PEOPLE -

A FOR­MER teen model has ac­cused il­lu­sion­ist David Cop­per­field of drug­ging and sex­u­ally as­sault­ing her in 1988 af­ter he judged a modelling com­pe­ti­tion in Ja­pan.

Cop­per­field, 61, said on Twit­ter and In­sta­gram on Wed­nes­day that he had been falsely ac­cused of sex­ual mis­con­duct in the past and was about to “weather an­other storm”.

Hours later, en­ter­tain­ment news web­site The Wrap pub­lished the al­le­ga­tions by Brit­tney Lewis, who said Cop­per­field in­vited her to one of his shows in Cal­i­for­nia af­ter meet­ing her at the Septem­ber 1988 com­pe­ti­tion when he was 32 and she was 17.

Dur­ing that trip she was drugged and as­saulted, The Wrap quoted Lewis as say­ing.

“He was kiss­ing my face and then I re­mem­ber him start­ing to go down on my body with his face,” the web­site quoted her as say­ing. “I just com­pletely blacked out.”

The next morn­ing, “he wanted me to know noth­ing hap­pened be­cause I was un­der­age”.

Reuters was un­able to in­de­pen­dently con­firm the al­le­ga­tion. Lewis could not im­me­di­ately be reached for com­ment.

A Cop­per­field spokesper­son, Staci Wolfe, de­clined to com­ment.

“David made a state­ment about # MeToo on his so­cial (me­dia), but we are not go­ing to com­ment about this story,” Wolfe said in an email, re­fer­ring to the on­line move­ment by vic­tims of sex­ual ha­rass­ment or abuse.

Mul­ti­ple ac­cu­sa­tions of sex- ual mis­con­duct against male ac­tors, film­mak­ers and agents have roiled Hol­ly­wood since Oc­to­ber 2017, lead­ing to many ma­jor play­ers be­ing fired, forced to step down, or dropped from cre­ative projects.

In the US, the scan­dal has also en­gulfed men in politics, busi­ness and the work­place, in­spir­ing the #MeToo move­ment.

Cop­per­field was ac­cused in 2007 of sex­ual as­sault by for­mer beauty queen Lacey Car­roll, but the case was even­tu­ally dropped with no of­fi­cial ex­pla­na­tion.

In his on­line state­ments prais­ing the #MeToo move­ment, Cop­per­field asked the pub­lic to re­serve judg­ment when some­one is ac­cused of sex­ual mis­con­duct.

“Imag­ine what it’s like, be­liev­ing in the move­ment, and hav­ing also been falsely ac­cused pub­licly in the past,” Cop­per­field wrote on In­sta­gram. “While I weather an­other storm, I want the move­ment to con­tinue to flour­ish. Al­ways lis­ten, and con­sider everything care­fully, but please, for ev­ery­one’s sake, don’t rush to judg­ment.”

Cop­per­field, whose real name is David Kotkin, is famed for il­lu­sions, in­clud­ing mak­ing the Statue of Lib­erty dis­ap­pear and walk­ing through the Great Wall of China. – Reuters

PIC­TURE: REUTERS

Cel­e­brated il­lu­sion­ist David Cop­per­field hopes what he says are false charges of sex­ual mis­con­duct will dis­ap­pear.

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