Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself: The Meme Explained and Why It Matters
Updated: Jul 2, 2020
If you’ve spent any time on the internet lately, it’s highly likely that you’ve seen a meme like this:
or like this:
The meme can take on many forms, though they all have one thing in common - the phrase “Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself.” This is a reference to the late billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, who died in his cell while awaiting trial for sex trafficking charges.
Epstein’s death was ruled a suicide, but now more than two months later there are breaking reports that Epstein’s death was likely a result of homicide. At the time of this article, the most notable of these claims comes from Dr. Michael Baden (a former NYC medical examiner). The current NYC medical examiner, Dr. Barbara Sampson, refutes these claims.
The details of the case are suspicious to say the least, but it is fair to say that the general public is not convinced the cause of death was suicide. But does an internet meme really matter to the work we are doing at Love People Not Pixels? The short answer - absolutely!
Epstein was and continues to be an influential figure. Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew, Bill Gates, and Donald Trump have all been either past associates of his or the subject of recent articles surrounding Epstein’s last days. His influence, paired with his history as a registered sex offender, make for a troubling portrait. In 2008, Epstein was charged with solicitation of prostitution and procurement of minors for prostitution and was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Not only did Epstein only serve 13 months of his sentence, but he was also granted work release, which allowed him to commute to an office six days a week.
But what exactly did he do to be charged with these crimes?
"Epstein was the supplier for demand that could have potentially reached all the way to the top. With his death, it is unlikely that those fueling the demand will see justice. We can only be certain of one thing: it will take a long time to uncover the truth."
His most recent arrest shows that he was likely engaging in these activities again, and his presumed clients are among the most powerful men in the world. Epstein was the supplier for demand that could have potentially reached all the way to the top. With his death, it is unlikely that those fueling the demand will see justice. We can only be certain of one thing: it will take a long time to uncover the truth.
That is why the Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself meme is an important part of the conversation. These memes, though they may seem crass, are profound in that they force this story to remain at the forefront of societal discourse; even when our 24-hour news cycle has already moved on. 2019 was a year full headlines about exploitation. Harvey Weinstein, Robert Kraft, Michael Jackson, and R. Kelly were all principle subjects, but the conversation around the bigger issue rarely continued on after the headlines changed. With these memes, the Epstein story might buck that trend and hold the public’s attention long enough to help the victims seek justice. Is it possible that these memes are a sign that the national media no longer directs our national discourse? Or is this just another pitch-black punchline in an endless cycle of desensitizing internet trends?
"Wealth and social status are not variables that should have any effect on an individual's acceptable sexual ethics or the justice rendered for a transgression, but Epstein's life serves as a harrowing reminder that they in fact are."
The death of Epstein will not stop the demand for human trafficking among his clients, but his life -if we allow it- can serve as a reminder that some members of society do not live by the same rules as the rest of us. Wealth and social status are not variables that should have any effect on an individual's acceptable sexual ethics or the justice rendered for a transgression, but Epstein's life serves as a harrowing reminder that they in fact are.
We as a public must continue to pursue truth and justice, and that starts here - by continuing the conversation and refusing to let the story disappear. We challenge you, dear reader, to challenge those around you to do the same. You can start by sharing this blog and asking this question: do you still see these memes on your timeline? If not, what does that mean?