Ever wonder why people always seem to blame the victims and not the perpetrator? Well after watching the hit TV show, the Tinder Swindler on Netflix and seeing the comments made about the victims, I began to wonder why they are blaming all these young girls, and not the man who did this to them. In this 2 hour documentary, it takes viewers on a journey throughout the life of Simon Leviev, a self proclaimed billionaire and diamond merchant who lured women into his grasp through the very well known app, Tinder.
Using Tinder, he was able to match with women from all over the country and use his billionaire lifestyle as a mechanism to keep these women very close to him. He would take them on his private jet, to the very best hotels, and wine and dine them at some of the most high end establishments. He would spend about 2 -3 months with a woman at a time before he started asking for help. Simon would say he was in grave danger or needed money for a flight because his credit cards weren’t working. At this point the women had fallen in love with him, and if he needed help they were willing to be there for him. Little did they know, this was all a scam for something much bigger. Simon would use the money he asked for from one woman to simultaneously wine and dine the next, so he was able to keep up his billionaire persona. He would send the women fake photos of his bodyguard in an ambulance and would even say his enemies could track him through his credit card, so he needed to borrow theirs instead. In total, Simon took over 600,000 dollars from his victims and even left some of them in bankruptcy. He was only sentenced to 15 months of jail time and was let out early on good behavior.
That’s where the victim shaming comes into play, these women trusted and loved Simon, and wanted to help him because he was “in danger.” All they were trying to do was make sure he was okay and were planning on getting reimbursed for their loans. All over twitter and the internet there are comments being made about the women, blaming them for failing to see the red flags and taking out money to help him. This is a very sad reality for women who decide to speak out against men who have taken advantage of them. Not only did they publicly speak out about what happened to them, but they showed the world who they were at some of the darkest times in their lives. The victims had to deal with the backlash of being called dumb, stupid, and naive. In reality these women were thrown to the curb and the star of the film Simon, was glorified in the media. He is out of jail and making money through Cameo, an app people can pay celebrities or influencers for personal messages. He is also making money through all of his different media appearances. Cecilie, Pernilla, and Alyeen all showed great bravery by sharing their story of how Simon was able to get their hard earned money from them. The real question here is: why are we glorifying a man who took hundreds upon thousands of dollars from women and then giving him more money, power, and influence even after his wrongdoings? Simon Leviev is a scammer and these women below are the victims, let’s not forget the people that were hurt and their stories. We should be praising these women for exposing such a dangerous person, and holding Simon accountable for his actions.
The victims that spoke out were: Cecilie Fjellhøy, Pernilla Sjoholm and Ayleen Charlotte