Today, financier Jeffrey Epstein’s name is associated with his status as a convicted sex offender and the high-profile charges he currently faces in the Southern District of New York federal court: sex trafficking of minors and conspiracy. In 2003, The New York Post’s gossip section Page Six had a different take – Epstein was considered one of Manhattan’s most eligible “studs.”
The 2003 Page Six list compiled 34 men, some of whom are A-list celebrities today and other who’s stars have fallen due to scandals. They include Epstein, who was described as a 50-year-old “mystery billionaire” that worked as a math teacher before handling L Brands CEO Les Wexner’s fortune, and went on to reside in “Manhattan’s biggest mansion.”
Every man on the list has a “Pro” and “Con.” Epstein’s pro: “Has a private plane which he used to take Bill Clinton to Africa.” His con? “Was one of Mort Zuckerman’s partners in failed attempt to buy New York magazine.”
In 2003, Epstein’s shadowy private life impacted even positive descriptions of the elusive financier. He probably wasn’t really a billionaire then, as he currently claims he is worth $559 million in court documents, though he at least has more monetary assets in diamonds and fine art.
The rest of the Page Six qualifications for Epstein’s “stud” status are seemingly factually correct. Renewed public interest in the financier’s past has revealed more and more information concerning his relationship with Victoria’s Secret head Wexner, his “ Lolita Express” 727 Boeing private jet that carried his associates around the world, and his failed foray into magazine ownership.
Epstein’s Manhattan bachelor peers include some faces that remain connected to the convicted sex offender. Donald Trump Jr. made Page Six’s round-up, and his father, the president, was close enough to have private parties with himself, Epstein, and a guest list comprised of models and NFL cheerleaders.
Metropolian Models co-owner Paolo Zampolli also made the list, with Page Six noting the Italian modeling industry titan “can usually be found sitting in a corner banquette of whatever club just opened surrounded by a bevy of beauties.” Zampolli’s closest link to Epstein also involves President Donald Trump.
The New York Times reported that, since the 2016 presidential election, Epstein has increasingly claimed that he was the person to introduce the president to First Lady Melania Trump. The story may not align with what Melania told Vanity Fair in 2017, but there is some crossover with Zampolli; Melania said she was at the latter’s 1998 New York Fashion Week party when she first met Trump.
The rest of the list features a nostalgia-inducing cocktail of early aughts celebrities, whose inclusion now might raise eyebrows. Then 38-year-old Representative Anthony Weiner from Brooklyn was included, with the caveat that he “could be cruelly described as a pencil-necked geek.” Today, Weiner’s name is synonymous with the sexting scandal that led to his resignation from Congress in 2011.
Of course, Weiner was subject to several more sexting scandals, including the 2017 FBI investigation into his sexting a 15-year-old, which resulted in a plea agreement that put the former congressman in prison until February 2019. In May, Weiner was released from a court-mandated halfway house in the Bronx and is now a lifelong registered sex offender.
Another notable inclusion on the 2003 Page Six list is Shepard Smith, who publicly came out as gay in 2016. The list states that the only thing its “studs” have in common is “they like women,” making Smith’s inclusion ironic in hindsight.
Smith’s description notes he is a “road rager,” referring to an incident when Smith was arrested for hitting another reporter over a parking spot dispute. The Fox News anchor was also violent towards a waitress, according to a 2013 Gawker report.