August 29, 2019
Before Jeffrey Epstein and #MeToo, there was Anand Jon.
Jon was a United States-based celebrity fashion designer in the late 1990s and early 2000s, originally from India. He had long black curly locks, and often sported ultra-tight, skin-hugging sleeveless t-shirts, khaki pants or jeans, gold chains, leather wristbands, and earrings. It was almost unthinkable to imagine Jon hiding his face from any camera. Rather, Jon posed for the paparazzi: on shiny marble catwalks, on America’s Next Top Model, with Bollywood and Hollywood bigwigs, in upmarket New York nightclubs. He was always flanked by lots of women.
But this fame soon turned to infamy. In November 2008, he was found guilty of sexually assaulting seven girls and young women — ages 14 to 23 — whom he lured under the premise of modeling jobs. Many had disturbingly similar stories: he met them online, asked them to come to his Beverly Hills or Manhattan work studios — they were actually his cockroach-infested apartments — and then drugged and raped them. He was even accused of having used his religion to coerce women, many of whom were underage, into sex acts.
Jon’s family, however, to this day allege that Jon was wrongly targeted because of his ethnicity and question the integrity of his trial.