Wonder Woman isn’t quite as wonderful as she appears.
In the past few days, a woman who has chosen to remain nameless published a chilling story about her rape at the hands of a friend’s boyfriend in Milan in 2004. She was a young woman of 18, just starting out in the modeling business. She went to Milan to work and met Gal Gadot, a recent Miss Israel winner and a more experienced model. Gadot’s then roommate had just been hospitalized after she was raped and was returning home at the tender age of 15.
So Gadot was looking for a new roommate. the woman and Gadot became fast friends and the 19 year-old Israeli model treated her as a protegé, showing her the ropes of the business. One of the major subjects between them was the various male leeches and hangers-on who preyed on young models either financially or sexually.
Gadot, in the anonymous woman’s account, eventually introduced her to her good friends, including an Israeli couple named Ayala and Yaniv. She became fast friends with them and spent considerable amounts of time, including weekends in their company. Then Ayala went on a modeling assignment to Greece the same week Gadot went on a separate assignment to Ireland.
With his girlfriend out-of-town, Yaniv invited Gadot’s roommate out for dinner. Since her previous experience had been so comfortable and she believed they were good friends, she accepted. Knowing she had little experience of booze, he plied her with drinks and eventually, she claims, mixed a date drug into her glass. Yaniv took her to his apartment as she stumbled down the street. Before she knew it, he’d removed her clothes and was raping her. The act was brutal and violent. Afterward, she says she could hear Yaniv calling a male friend to boast of his “conquest.”
When Gadot returned from her modeling trip and discovered what had happened she flew into a rage against the rape victim. She blamed the young girl for putting herself into the situation to being with. Though she would not have wanted to admit this, she must’ve blamed herself for harming her friend Ayala, since Gadot was the one who introduced the young model to their circle. The Israeli model repeatedly hectored her roommate into writing an apology to Ayala for permitting the rape to happen. But the victim refused and eventually left Milan and the modeling profession.
Clearly (and the victim says this herself), Gadot is not at fault for the rape itself. But if the story is true (and remember that only 2-8% of rape charges are found false), then Gadot behaved abominably in putting her relationship with her Israeli friend above her responsibility to the rape victim. No doubt, Gadot did this to protect herself from having to feel any blame in the matter. But that excuses nothing.
If this account is true, it puts the lie to Gadot’s righteous indignation at warning Warner Brothers that she would not work on her next film if its producer, Brett Ratner appears on set. Ratner himself is accused of multiple accounts of preying on young boys. She apparently got her way as the studio axed Ratner’s participation. Power has its privileges. Now perhaps Gadot can explain her own apparent cruelty in the face of similar charges.
The victim in her Twitter account offers further information about her rapist, who she names as Yaniv Nahoum. He has a LinkedIn account and has worked, where else, in Israeli high-tech. He’s been a software engineer for AT&T for the past six years. His Flickr account shows adorable photos of him goofing off with his spouse. Yes, there are pictures of his “bachelor party” on Facebook, so the boy has managed to find a woman who will accept his peccadillos. By now, she’s probably heard about Yaniv’s past and is having to deal with it. UPDATE: Since this post was published and I sent him a Facebook message offering to convey his response to the charges against him, Nahoum has closed down his Flickr account. A reader commented in the thread for this post that he’d examined the Flickr account and found an album titled “Milan” going back to the period in question. That could be why he shut down the account. Interestingly, he hasn’t shut down his LinkedIn or Facebook accounts.
Finally, in her post the author of the rape account notes that at one point Gadot spoke angrily against Palestinians and disparaged them. In fact, she shilled willing for the IDF during Operation Protective Edge. The pro-Israel brigades on Twitter have gone on the warpath. Apparently, Ava is a slut and a whore and a liar not because of her story, but solely because she impugned Gal Gadot’s pro-Israeli political views. If you read the tweets they’re an incredible example of individuals shutting down their rational processes in the face of troubling information.
The model-victim first published her post on Medium (here is the original post in Google cache). After she did so, the platform’s legal department sent her this strange letter. Apparently, if you are a rape victim you can’t name your rapist or his accessory because doing so will “incite hatred” against them. I guess the lawyers don’t take into account the level of violence and hate the victim suffered during her rape.
What’s further ironic about this is that Jenny Listman published her compelling account on Medium of being fondled by Elie Wiesel when she was a young girl. Listman named Wiesel. But her account was not removed. My guess is that dead men don’t have lawyers and Hollywood celebrities have very good ones. If you use the Medium platform you might want to query them about why they behaved so abominably toward Ava.
I asked Medium for comment and was advised their “PR team” would reply. I tweeted to the victim and she has not replied. A website for an agency claiming to represent Gal Gadot has a broken email address. If anyone has information about her current agent or management please let me know. I will update if there are responses.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.