Naomi Campbell Regrets Her Infamous Phone-Throwing Incident: ‘It’s Part of My History’

Naomi Campbell has been strutting down runways for decades and aging in reverse while doing it. The supermodel and business mogul has expanded her footprint by opening orphanages in underserved countries and has even become a bona fide YouTuber.

However, to many people, Campbell will always simply be a diva who believes the world revolves around her — and who won’t hesitate to throw a cell phone at someone, given the chance.

Naomi Campbell attends the 2019 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 24, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic
Naomi Campbell attends the 2019 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 24, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Naomi Campbell has been known for being a diva

From the early days of her career, Naomi Campbell has always been sure of herself and what she wants and isn’t afraid to ask for it. To many people in the fashion industry and beyond, this wasn’t a case of an accomplished model advocating for herself, but an angry Black woman making demands and bossing people around.

In 1993, Elite Model Management fired Campbell, saying that “no amount of money or prestige could further justify the abuse” they faced from her. In 2008, she was reportedly banned from British Airways for life after an altercation as a result of the airline losing her baggage.

Two years later, she was caught in the middle of a blood-diamond scandal when she received a handful of uncut stones from the former president of Liberia, who was later convicted on 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. When she testified at the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands, she bluntly declared, “This is an inconvenience for me.”

Naomi Campbell attends the 2019 LACMA Art + Film Gala Presented By Gucci on November 02, 2019 in Los Angeles, California | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic
Naomi Campbell attends the 2019 LACMA Art + Film Gala Presented By Gucci on November 02, 2019 in Los Angeles, California | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Naomi Campbell’s infamous phone incident

There’s one incident, however, that remains in both the public and Campbell’s minds.

In 2007, Campbell pled guilty to assaulting her maid by hitting her in the head with a cell phone. She agreed to take anger-management classes and serve a sentence of five days of community service, as well as pay for the victim’s hospital bills.

The incident became a prime example of celebrities behaving badly. Even Tyra Banks paid homage to the assault in a photoshoot on America’s Next Top Model where the contestants were asked to portray different model stereotypes, one of them being a model who throws their phone at their assistant.

British model Naomi Campbell walks the runway during the Kenneth Ize show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2020/2021 on February 24, 2020 in Paris, France | Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images
British model Naomi Campbell walks the runway during the Kenneth Ize show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2020/2021 on February 24, 2020 in Paris, France | Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images

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Naomi Campbell regrets losing her temper

In hindsight, Campbell regrets her outburst and has more than learned her lesson. She discussed what happened in a 2013 interview with ELLE magazine.

“I’m never gonna get away from it. It’s part of my history,” she said of the assault. “I was remorseful and regretful. I’ve served. I did that time. And I never want to be in that position again.”