World-renowned illusionist David Copperfield has been accused of drugging and molesting a former model just hours after urging those supporting the #MeToo campaign not to "rush to judgement" of those accused of sexual misconduct.
Brittney Lewis claims she was 17-years-old and on the verge of becoming the next Elle Macpherson when Copperfield allegedly sexually assaulted her in his hotel room in 1988.
In an interview with TheWrap, she details the alleged incident which occurred weeks after they met in Atami, Japan. She competed in a modelling contest in which Copperfield was a judge.
Lewis claims that after they exchanged numbers and when she returned home to Utah, Copperfield invited her to one of his upcoming shows in California.
Copperfield, 32 at the time, allegedly arranged for her to stay at a hotel with him in adjoining rooms and spent time at a local bar where she believes he slipped something into her drink.
She claims the evening took a dark turn once they retired to his room. "I remember my clothes being taken off. He was kissing my face and then I remember him starting to go down on my body with his face. And then, as soon as he started going down, I just completely blacked out."
According to Lewis, the following morning she awoke feeling nausea. Copperfield soon entered the room to say nothing happened because she was underage, and that "I did not enter you", said Lewis. She said that although there was no fluid but "he could have had a condom".
Due to the statute of limitations, Lewis is unable to file criminal charges against Copperfield.
The 61-year-old magician appeared to preempt Lewis' allegations when he took to Twitter on Wednesday (24 January) saying he was preparing to "weather another storm".
"I've lived with years of news reports about me being accused of fabricated, heinous acts, with few telling the story of the accuser getting arrested, and my innocence," he told his 3.5 million followers, while also expressing support for the #MeToo movement.
The entertainer added that while he believes the movement is "crucial and long overdue" people must always "listen, and consider everything carefully, but please, for everyone's sake, don't rush to judgement."
Copperfield, who dated supermodel Claudia Schiffer in the 1990s, was investigated by the FBI in 2007 after former beauty queen Lacey Carroll accused him of rape.
She claimed that he imprisoned and assaulted her after whisking her to his $50m private island in the Bahamas.
The case was eventually closed and Copperfield told Oprah Winfrey in 2012 that he was the real victim.
"To be falsely accused of something horrendous is devastating for yourself, your friends, your family, really bad," he said. "I'm working on forgiveness."