Magician David Copperfield Accused of Grooming, Groping, and Drugging Women

Magician David Copperfield is facing allegations of drugging women before sexual encounters, groping women during live performances, and behaving inappropriately with women who were significantly younger than him — including under 18 — in a new investigative piece in The Guardian.

The story contains allegations from 16 women, spanning four decades, from the 1980s to 2014. Over half of those women said they were under 18 at the time of the alleged incidents, with the two youngest victims claiming they were 15 at the time (though there was no evidence to suggest Copperfield was aware of their ages when they met).

One of those 15-year-olds, identified as Carla (not her real name), said Copperfield “groomed” her for more than two years after he gave her his phone number following a 1991 show. The magician allegedly called her at home often and sent her cards and gifts, including one, which Carla received when she was 16, that said: “In 2 years I will be back.”

Copperfield was the first person Carla had sex with after she turned 18, she said. A year prior, Carla alleged an encounter in Copperfield’s limousine, during which she said the magician kissed and pushed her head towards his crotch (Carla said she believed Copperfield thought she’d turned 18 already). “I was not forced, but I remember feeling awkward as I’d never done that before,” Carla said. 

She added: “I was a young schoolgirl infatuated with a man who was famous, and I think he used that to benefit him. Why would he continue to reach out to me through those years if he wasn’t planning on pouncing as soon as I turned 18?”

Copperfield’s lawyers denied all the allegations against him as “false and entirely without foundation,” adding that he’d “never, ever acted inappropriately with anyone, let alone anyone underage.” (Specifically regarding Carla, they denied the grooming claim and called the pair’s relationship “consensual.)

Furthermore, the magician’s lawyer accused The Guardian of running a “hit piece” filled with allegations that are “utterly unsupported by any proper evidence.” They also noted that “numerous false claims” had been leveled against Copperfield before, none of which had been proven. They said such behavior “is the opposite of everything [Copperfield] stands for and works hard for.” 

In a statement, a representative for Copperfield said: “Everyone that knows David Copperfield will tell you that these recent allegations from one newspaper are the exact opposite of who David is. In fact, David has a record of risking his career to help protect women from powerful predators. Most of these historic accusations have been made before, and all of them are as false now as they were then. David requested the ‘evidence’ upon which these false allegations claim to rely and this has not been provided. By contrast, whenever US law enforcement has looked into such matters, they have been investigated thoroughly and it has been found that there is simply no case to answer. The Guardian’s characterization is not who David is, and he continues to support anyone who has experienced any form of abuse or discrimination. The movement must succeed, but false accusations must stop for it to flourish. David will be considering the position with his legal team and will take such steps as may be appropriate over these false and scurrilous allegations.”

Many of Copperfield’s victims said they met the magician at his shows. Several former employees recalled the magician asking assistants to find attractive young women in the crowds and ask them to either participate in the shows or meet Copperfield afterward. One former assistant said she quit because of Copperfield’s behavior towards women and teenage girls; another said she started asking women in the crowd their ages and, if they were under 18, told them to go back to their families.

Along with a denial from Copperfield’s lawyers, other former employees — including an executive assistant and his ex-security manager — said they never saw anything unusual or inappropriate.

Four women who did join Copperfield on stage all said that, during the performance, the magician either made them touch him in inappropriate ways or groped them. One woman, Lily, said Copperfield touched her breasts on stage when she was 15, an incident her father and sister said they remembered witnessing in the crowd. Another woman, Olivia, said she was 17 when Copperfield touched her “between the anus and vagina” over her clothes while leading her to the stage; she compared it to a “sleight of hand” trick. (Copperfield’s lawyers called this claim “patently absurd.”)

Gillian said she was in her 20s when Copperfield picked her to join him on stage for a trick in the early Nineties. Afterward, as they waited in line for an autograph, one of the magician’s assistants allegedly asked them if they wanted to join Copperfield for a drink later. Gillian said they later arrived in Copperfield’s private suite at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, where they were handed a glass of sambuca. Gillian said she began to feel “weird, physically weird” after one drink and, after that, “everything was just fuzzy… I literally blacked out for a while, and I don’t do that.” 

Gillian said she recalled “patches” between blacking out, including memories of Copperfield having sex with her and her friend. Gillian said she believed neither she nor her friend had been able to consent. (Along with denying the allegation, Copperfield’s lawyers and several of his former employees said he did not use or carry around drugs for any reason.)


“I am 56 years old now,” Gillian said. “Never in my life have I had a time where I don’t consciously remember [a period of time] … I would never just say this to somebody if I didn’t truly, honest to God believe that I was drugged at that time.” 

This story was updated 5/15/24 @ 3:04 p.m. ET with a statement from a Copperfield representative.