Front Burner

Understanding the 'Jeffrey Epstein didn't kill himself' meme

Today on Front Burner, writer Anna Merlan on how conspiracy theories about the death of millionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein have become a widely shared meme.
"Jane Doe 15," a 31-year-old unidentified woman, who accuses the late financier Jeffrey Epstein of sexually abusing her when she was a child, wears a bracelet that reads "Epstein didn't kill himself" as she speaks at a news conference in Los Angeles, California, November 18, 2019. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson - RC2WDD999FUT (REUTERS)

A conspiracy theory about the death of millionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein has been turned into a meme. The phrase "Jeffrey Epstein didn't kill himself" is appearing in tweets, TikToks, on live television, even on ugly Christmas sweaters. The New York City Medical Examiner's Office conclusively ruled Epstein's death in jail was a suicide. But that hasn't stopped the conspiracy theory from thriving on both the left and right sides of the political spectrum. Today on Front Burner, Anna Merlan, author of Republic of Lies: American conspiracy theorists and their surprising rise to power, on why she thinks this conspiracy theory has morphed into a widely shared, macabre meme.

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