Accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein died by suicide Saturday morning and as celebrities and the public react, conspiracy theories have emerged.
Epstein, a millionaire financier, was accused of sexually abusing dozens of girls — some as young as 14 — in a sex trafficking ring. He was arrested in New Jersey last month in connection to those allegations. The 66-year-old was charged with sex trafficking tied to claims he recruited young girls for abuse at his residences Palm Beach, Florida and New York.
Multiple media outlets reported Saturday, Aug. 10 that Epstein, who had been awaiting trial, was found dead in his jail cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York’s Manhattan neighborhood. Reportedly, he had been put on suicide late last month after an alleged attempt to take his own life.
It wasn’t long after news of his suicide emerged, however, that celebrities responded and some espoused conspiracy theories that many among the general public supported.
Comedian and activist D.L. Hughley said on Instagram, “#JeffreyEpstein FRIEND OF #TRUMP ,who was in custody for multiple charges of Sex trafficking and pedophilia is dead due to an apparent suicide. All I know is he had A LOT of SECRETS to tell about A LOT OF PEOPLE in connection to those charges #TeamDL #hmmm #lifestylesoftherichandfamous.”
Retired MLB player Matt Barnes made a similar conspiratorial claim writing in a comment on Instagram of the news, “He knew too much.. Inside job.”
The celebs were not alone in their claims, either. Many others found the circumstances of Epstein’s death suspicious.
“He was supposed to be monitored for this very reason. This was no accident.”
“They killed him cuz he was bout to tell the real story.”
“Wasn’t he already under suicide watch?so explain to me how the heck did he commit suicide? Oh yeah, maybe trump name was written in his little black book. (It was a inside job).”
“His ass in the Cayman Islands right along with his hidden money! He probably paid his way out of this.”
Monica Lewinsky, most famous for her dealings with former President Bill Clinton, whom Epstein was a close friend of and of whom has been alleged to have had ties to Epstein’s death, shared her thoughts.
“what strange news to awaken to. to all those young women who may be suffering today as a result of epstein’s death, i send my love + supportive thoughts. may your core strength + emotional stability be nearby. ,” she tweeted.
But Epstein’s accusers are not as sympathetic. Many of them have expressed anger that the financier’s death means no justice will be served.
Accuser Jennifer Araoz, who said Epstein raped her as a 15-year-old outside of her high school in New York, said in a statement his death doesn’t heal victims’ scars.
“I am angry Jeffrey Epstein won’t have to face his survivors of his abuse in court,” she said in a statement obtained by NBC News. “We have to live with the scars of his actions for the rest of our lives, while he will never face the consequences of the crimes he committed, the pain and trauma he caused so many people. Epstein is gone, but justice must still be served. I hope the authorities will pursue and prosecute his accomplices and enablers, and ensure redress for his victims.”
Attorney Lisa Bloom also spoke out for the many accusers she represents. She tweeted that his death does not mean her fight for the alleged victims is over.
“Predator Jeffrey Epstein killed himself. On behalf of the victims I represent, we would have preferred he lived to face justice,” she said. “Our civil cases can still proceed against his estate. Victims deserve to be made whole for the lifelong damage he caused. We’re just getting started.”
Brad Edwards, another attorney for many of the accusers, told NBC News Epstein’s suicide also spoke to the currently present lack of justice.
“While we engaged in contentious legal battles for more than a decade, this is not the ending anyone was looking for,” he told the outlet in a statement. “The victims deserved to see Epstein held accountable, and he owed it to everyone he hurt to accept responsibility for all of the pain he caused.”