Evil By Design: Surviving Nygard
The story of accused sexual predator Peter Nygard and the women who survived his decades-long reign of evil.
WARNING: This article contains graphic content and may affect those who have experienced sexual violence or know someone affected by it.
Fashion mogul Peter Nygard is accused of preying on women in Canada, the United States and the Bahamas for more than 40 years. Today, the list of survivors could reach into the hundreds, making Nygard possibly one of the most dangerous rapists of our time. He has attempted to keep his victims silent and has denied all allegations, but it wasn't enough: he now faces charges in Canada and the U.S.
Evil By Design: Surviving Nygard is a three-part documentary series, based on a CBC podcast, that tells the story of Nygard's survivors. It uncovers decades of alleged sexual assaults and how whistleblowers finally helped bring Nygard down.
In conversations with survivors, former employees, family members, investigative journalists and law enforcement, Evil By Design shows viewers the world of glamour, power and money that drew legions of women into Nygard's orbit.
The series finds Nygard was able to go unpunished for so long thanks to an army of employees, a culture of victim blaming, and a legal system built to protect the rich. It reveals how some of those employees and survivors came together to expose the truth.
Episode 1: Roots of Evil
It all begins in Winnipeg.
Peter Nygard's journey to international fame starts on the Canadian Prairies. He builds a small women's clothing manufacturer into Nygard International — a company that will grow to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Survivors say Winnipeg is also where Nygard began assaulting young women.
From the 1970s to the early 2000s there are persistent rumours about what Nygard does on his private jet, at his company offices in Winnipeg, and especially in his luxurious compound in the Bahamas.
This sexual predator was out there going all the way to the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s. Fifty years. Why? I wish someone would answer that question.- Nygard survivor
Delving into Nygard's world, investigative reporters in Winnipeg and Toronto work to bring his crimes to light. And while whistleblowers and survivors come forward, Nygard's intimidation and threats of legal action ultimately silence them. He is not charged.
Episode 2: The Man Behind the Curtain
It's 2009, and Peter Nygard's world is literally in flames. Fire destroys part of his opulent compound in the Bahamas, and Nygard blames his neighbour, hedge fund billionaire Louis Bacon.
But what begins as a feud between two wealthy men cracks Nygard's operation wide open.
When Bacon hires a private investigator to protect himself from Nygard, it exposes a shocking pattern of abuse at Nygard's estate. Parties held ostensibly to select models are in fact recruiting events: a chance for Nygard to select the young women he wants to have sex with.
Investigators uncover stories from multiple women — some of them minors — who are drugged and forced to have sex with Nygard and his friends.
After 10 women go on the record with their charges, separate New York law firms launch a class-action lawsuit in early 2020. But will it be enough to bring Nygard down?
Episode 3: End Game
February 2020: the FBI raids Peter Nygard's homes and offices in Canada and the U.S. But even though the authorities are closing in, no charges are laid.
Survivors are terrified that Nygard will disappear and they'll never get the justice they've been waiting so long for. They band together with journalists, criminal lawyers and former employees to bring forward evidence of Nygard's crimes. But as the months drag on, even Nygard's son fears his father will board a plane and use his money and power to once again evade the police.
In December 2020, Nygard is finally arrested and charged with numerous counts of sexual assault and sex trafficking in the State of New York. Charges in Canada followed in October of 2021. Nygard has been denied bail."
I don't need to hear guilty because I know he's guilty. But I just need a courthouse. I need a place to stand … and say I'm a survivor.- Serena Hickes, Nygard survivor
While survivors and whistleblowers are relieved, Nygard still hasn't faced his accusers in court. A trial date has yet to be set. And Nygard has denied every single charge.
Advocates and survivors wonder: how did this happen? And what needs to be done to stop it from happening again?
Watch Evil by Design: Surviving Nygard on CBC and CBC Gem, staring Thursday March 17 at 9 pm.
Support is available for anyone who has been sexually assaulted. Call The Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-833-900-1010 for more information.