Animal-rights activist group PETA is demanding a federal prison accommodate Ghislaine Maxwell's vegan diet to prevent her from "contributing to suffering."
PETA sent a letter to the Metropolitan Detention Center on Tuesday demanding the federal prison provide Maxwell, a longtime confidant to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, with plant-based meals—"regardless of the accusations against her." Maxwell was arrested in July on multiple charges related to sex trafficking and sexual abuse of young girls and is being held in the Brooklyn detention center without bail.
"Regardless of how anyone feels about Ms. Maxwell, no one should be forced to eat the corpse of an animal who felt pain and fear and didn't want to die," PETA president Ingrid Newkirk said in a statement.
PETA said its decision to advocate for Maxwell follows multiple reports that the facility has for months failed to provide her with meals suitable to her vegan diet. In the letter, addressed to the detention center's warden, PETA said that providing vegan meals to Maxwell and other inmates can help end animal suffering. "Although none of us can stop all violence, by providing everyone with vegan meals, you have the power to prevent Ms. Maxwell and other inmates from contributing to suffering," the organization said.
Newkirk told the Washington Free Beacon that PETA has asked multiple prisons to serve "cruelty-free" meals, which she claims cost less.
"PETA always suggests ways to save animals from pain and suffering, which is why we advocate for vegan choices for everyone," Newkirk said. "We have asked numerous prisons—most recently, the Indiana penitentiary holding accused cannibal Joseph Oberhansley—not only to accommodate requests for vegan meals (which, apparently, Ghislaine Maxwell has made) but also to reduce violence generally by providing all inmates with cruelty-free food. In addition, our prison systems, paid for with our taxes, should be saving funds by serving vegan meals, which are less costly."
Maxwell has allegedly lost 25 pounds over the past four months because she has refused to eat the meals provided for her. According to one friend, she also says she is "humiliated" by the paper clothes the prison has forced her to wear while on suicide watch.
The letter comes just one week after the release of a 2016 deposition, in which Maxwell denied all allegations of wrongdoing against her. She denies claims that she recruited minors to have sex with Epstein and has said she was unaware of accusations that he was abusing women and young girls. Her trial is set for next summer.