Briefly about the Epstein case
Jeffrey Epstein is an American billionaire and an influential financier. On July 6, 2019, he was detained and charged with selling minors to sex slavery.According to investigators, the 66-year-old Epstein brought dozens of girls to his homes and paid them for “sexual massage,” which sometimes ended in sex. Some girls were 14-15 years old.
This is not the first time that Epstein has faced accusations .. The same case against the financier was already considered in 2007. Then he went to a deal, pleaded guilty, paid compensation to the victims and spent 13 months in prison. The media called the punishment too lenient, especially considering that Epstein was allowed to work “in a convenient office” for most of the day.
In 2019, the charges became more serious. Among other thingsthe billionaire was charged with organizing an entire structure that involved girls in sexual slavery. In this case, Epstein not only used the services of minors, but also sold them to other people.
The financier faced up to 45 years in prison. Prior to the verdict, he was held in a New York Correctional Facility. Already on July 23, Epstein was found in the cell unconscious and bruised on his neck, indicating an attempted suicide. He was transferred under special supervision, but then, at the request of lawyers, returned to the residential block. On August 10, the day after the indictment in the case was made public, Epstein was found hanged.
Preconditions for conspiracy theory
To the circumstances of the death of Epstein immediately a lot of questions arose .To prevent a repeated suicide attempt, a neighbor was to be placed in the cell to the financier, and the guards had to check him every half hour. None of this was done by August 10th.
Even more – according to The New York Times, Epstein died at a time when two guards assigned to him fell asleep for three hours. Then they faked their reports. The official version after the autopsy says that Epstein committed suicide. But many people doubted this, assuming that the billionaire was “helped.”
The main argument is that during his life, Epstein had very influential friends. The financier repeatedly emphasized this: “I do not invest in politics or science, but in people.” Among his friends are Donald Trump, the Clinton family, the British Prince Andrew, Bill Gates and many more “powerful” people.So the theory appeared that Epstein was strangled, and then a suicide was staged so that he would not give out clients of his sex trade network.
According to court records, Epstein could take the girls to a private island where he had a residence. There, according to supporters of the theory of murder, there were orgies of influential people with minors. It is known that Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew traveled with Epstein in his private plane, but there is no evidence that they traveled to the island.
The birth of a meme
A meme based on conspiracy theories about the death of Epstein originated on 4chan. Users of imageboards made the phrase “Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself” (part of the joke on the template “bait-and-switch” (literally “Catch the bait and substitute”). This is a category of memes where a harmless picture or text ends with a blende with the right phrase.
For example, in social networks, it seems like an ordinary picture with a recipe, but at the end a provocative phrase is suddenly substituted. In this case – “Epstein did not kill himself.”
At 4chan, serious discussion of the theory arose. For example, an infographic was distributed there, listing the mysterious deaths and disappearances of people associated with the American Clinton dynasty (“Clinton body count”). Epstein fell into the same pattern.
Peak of popularity
Jokes and discussions about the death of Epstein arose in August and gradually came to naught. But in early November, the theme of the suicide of the financier and the participation of his friends in it returned – and became even more popular.
On November 1, the famous American forensic expert Michael Baden, hired by Epstein’s brother, said that the billionaire could have been killed in a prison cell. He noted unusual neck fractures in Epstein – an autopsy revealed a fracture of the thyroid cartilage on the left and right, as well as the horn of the hyoid bone. According to Baden, such damage occurs with pressure (asphyxiation), and not with suicide. Other forensic experts noted that when hanging, you can break the same bones, especially since Epstein was an elderly person.
On November 2, at the end of an interview on Fox, veteran dog service Mike Ritland asked the host to let him make a statement. Ritland began his speech by talking about the features of service dogs, but at the very end, according to all the canons of bait-and-switch jokes, he said: “Epstein did not kill himself.”
The video was distributed on social networks, and the Internet was again captured by memes based on the theory. Now hints of what happened with Epstein were seen everywhere.
The aim of the creators of jokes is not only the irony of conspiracy theories. This is including an attempt to support the discussion of the Epstein case with the help of a simple but effective method – memes. “I think the goal is to prevent Epstein from getting lost in our memory and the memory of the media. Filling memes with everything around us, we can periodically return the case to the modern agenda, ” said one Reddit user.