My View: Why the ‘Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself’ meme is so pervasive

Craig Blotter

With the death of billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, who was in custody pending trial for sex trafficking, have come many memes and hashtags in the social media sphere. They mostly proclaim one thing: “Epstein didn’t kill himself.”

Although the chief medical examiner of New York has ruled the death a suicide, the popular notion is that Epstein did not kill himself. According to, surveys have indicated that two out of three Americans do not believe Epstein’s death was a suicide. 

Epstein’s enormous wealth and many powerful connections seemingly contribute to this notion. Other factors, as well, provide fodder for the murder theory. Epstein had been put on suicide watch the week before, and on the night of his death the two guards charged with watching him were asleep. The video footage is also unusable, according to 

Dr. Michael Baden, a previous medical examiner for New York City, who was hired by Epstein’s brother to oversee the official autopsy, said that fracture on both sides of Epstein’s larynx are more consistent with strangulation than hanging, as reported by Fox News. 

All these elements are already a perfect storm for suspicions of conspiracy, but there is more. According to NPR, ABC anchor Amy Robach was caught on a live microphone complaining about having the complete Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking story three years ago. In the recording she vented that ABC had suppressed the story. 

The footage of Robach was leaked to conservative activist group Project Veritas, which then published it. It is alleged that Ashley Bianco has been fired from CBS for leaking the footage. According to Fox News, “After identifying the person who they believed had leaked the clip, ABC News execs reportedly alerted officials at CBS – where Bianco had gone to work after her stint at the Disney network. CBS fired her this week, [Megyn] Kelly said.”

Political persuasions also make their impact on people’s opinions about the Epstein case. An article for GQ points out that the popularity of the Epstein memes moves beyond left and right, with both sides embracing the murder theory for somewhat different reasons. 

Because former president Bill Clinton is alleged to have taken many flights with Epstein, visited his private island, and invited him to the White House, critics of the Clinton’s from both left and right are likely to believe that Epstein didn’t kill himself, and that the Clintons are involved, according to GQ. 

President Donald Trump, too, has had many documented interactions with Epstein, with both of them having been photographed together. This provides yet more incentive to have beliefs about Epstein based on political preference. 

In the age of the “Me Too” movement, a grassroots activist campaign to take down sexual predators, Epstein looms large. His many connections to the world’s rich and powerful look like corruption of the worst kind. Many throughout the nation have watched as many celebrities and elites in Hollywood have been taken down for abusive actions toward women. 

It seems that Epstein stands at the intersection of public distrust. For many reasons, many institutions of American life are no longer venerated. Conservatives have long distrusted established corporate media and Democratic political dynasties, and for them Epstein looks like everything they would expect from a corrupt machine. From the left it looks like a system owned and run by straight, white males who defend the position of power that they maintain in society, preying on those that they can. 

Ultimately the outcome is the same: The American people see a depth of corruption – which the Epstein case is an avatar for. Whatever ills are perceived in 2019, the Epstein case can be used as an example of. A key question remains as to whether those involved in Epstein’s sex trafficking empire will be taken down, or if they will remain unscathed. The Epstein memes are a way for the American public to remind those in power that they will not forget what they have seen that they will come for answers.