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Fact-check: Are Stephen Hawking and Jimmy Kimmel on Epstein's list?

 This photo provided by the New York State Sex Offender Registry shows Jeffrey Epstein, March 28, 2017.
This photo provided by the New York State Sex Offender Registry shows Jeffrey Epstein, March 28, 2017. Copyright AP/New York State Sex Offender Registry
Copyright AP/New York State Sex Offender Registry
By Sophia Khatsenkova
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Were the names of celebrities such as Jimmy Kimmel, Tom Hanks, and Stephen Hawking featured on the list of individuals linked to Jeffrey Epstein? The unsealing of court records relating to the late sex offender has prompted a wave of conspiracy theories and disinformation.


A US federal judge has been unsealing court records featuring the names of dozens of people connected to the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein since last Wednesday. 

But these documents ended up containing no major new revelations about Epstein and his associates.

The fact that names are mentioned doesn’t mean there's a link to the criminal activities of the disgraced financier and his partner, Ghislaine Maxwell, who is currently serving 20 years for conspiring to sexually abuse minors.

The people mentioned in the court filings include some of Epstein’s accusers, witnesses, people who were mentioned in passing during depositions but weren’t accused of anything wrongdoing, as well as individuals who investigated Epstein.

Nonetheless, this much-anticipated development prompted a wave of disinformation including many false allegations trying to tie certain high-profile figures to the couple. 

No, the document does not mention Stephen Hawking's 'sexual proclivities'

One of the famous individuals falsely accused is the late theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking.

An alleged screenshot published on X, former Twitter, claims to show court documents mentioning Hawking’s sexual 'proclivities'.

Turns out the viral image is fabricated because this exchange does not appear anywhere in the Epstein documents recently released. 

Even the account that first posted the fabricated screenshot later confirmed the exchange was a fake one.

"I thought it was outlandish enough to be obvious, commented the user under the viral post.

Hawking’s name does appear in the documents released on 3 January. A 2015 email sent by Epstein outlines a reward he offered for people who could disprove an allegation from one of his victims Virginia Giuffre that the scientist took part in “an underage orgy.” 

Another document describes a request for Virginia Giuffre to produce all photos or videos with several people, including Hawking. There is no mention of Hawking’s alleged "proclivities."

Hawking and several other scientists attended a five-day conference on Epstein’s private island in the Caribbean in 2006 before the financier was charged with sex trafficking of minors.

Hawking, who died in 2018, has never been accused of any crime related to Jeffrey Epstein.

Jimmy Kimmel hits back at co-conspirator allegations

TV host Jimmy Kimmel also fell victim to these photoshopped court records alleging he had sex with one of Epstein’s victims. 


However, none of the released court documents ever mention Jimmy Kimmel. 

The alleged screenshot shows the transcript is on page number 1,375, while the officially released document only has 943 pages. 

On social media, Jimmy Kimmel hit back at the false claims notably spread by American football player, Aaron Rodgers, and threatened the athlete with legal action. 

New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers falsely accused Kimmel of being on Epstein’s list the day before the document’s release during an appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show.”


No, Tom Hanks did not flee to Israel following the unsealing of court records

A video has gone viral showing US actor Tom Hanks dancing while wearing a kippah and a tallit, a Jewish prayer shawl. 

"Tom Hanks converts to Judaism and flees to Israel following the release of the Epstein client list. Sources say he was greeted with a massive welcome celebration upon his arrival," said one user on Facebook.

The video uses the logo and graphics of CNN to dupe social media users into thinking the clip comes from a real news report.

However, a CNN spokesperson told USA Today the news chyron appearing in the video is a fabrication. 


By doing a reverse image search, The Cube found the original video dates back to 2014 when Hanks attended a wedding in Canada. There is no evidence the actor has fled the US to live in Israel. 

Who is named in court filings?

Among the names that were included were former US presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, although none of them are accused of wrongdoing.

For example, Trump's name comes up in the court filings when one of Epstein's victims, Johanna Sjoberg, recalled in her deposition that Jeffrey Epstein once said upon landing in Atlantic City, New Jersey, that he will "call up Trump and go to the casino."

When asked if she gave Trump a massage, Sjoberg said she did not. 


Sjoberg also testified that Epstein told her once that former US president Bill Clinton "likes them young, referring to girls".

For years, both Trump and Clinton have tried to publicly distance themselves from the convicted sex offender.

In the records, Virginia Giuffre, one of the victims, accused Prince Andrew, the son of the late Queen Elizabeth II, of abusing her.

In her deposition, Giuffre also speaks about “another prince” and a “Spanish president,” whose name she does not remember.


You can find the full release of the records here.

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