In 2003 Vicky Ward was assigned a profile on Epstein by her editor for Vanity Fair. The profile was supposed to be a somewhat shallow explainer on one of the richest men in the world no one had heard of. But during her investigation Ward uncovered rumors that Epstein was known for abusing and raping underage women. These accusations led her to Maria and Annie Farmer, two of the first victims to speak about their abuse on the record.
After Epstein caught wind of the changing direction of the story, he started to threaten Ward, claiming that he would get a witch doctor to put a curse on her unborn born twins. Graydon Carter, the editor of Vanity Fair at the time, even found a severed cat head in his garden and a bullet on his doorstep, both believed to be tied to Epstein. The story was later pulled.