As you have surely heard by now, Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his jail cell early Saturday morning, while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. New York medical examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson hasn't officially released a cause of death, but the New York Times reports, per a city official, she is "confident" he died by suicide. But what the Twitter account of the alt-rock band Foster the People supposes is: What if he didn't?
On Saturday, they posted a tweet suggesting that Epstein was still alive and well somewhere else. "Have you seen photos of the body?" they wrote. "It’s obviously not him. My guess is, Epstein’s on a private plane to somewhere in the Middle East getting prepped for plastic surgery right now #EpsteinBodyDouble."
Foster the People's best-known song, 2010's "Pumped Up Kicks," was about gun violence, so it's not a huge leap to see how they'd be up on the latest political happenings. What's baffling isn't that Foster the People were part of the chorus of Epstein death skeptics—which seemed to include virtually everyone on Twitter this weekend—but that they spent most of the following day defending their theory and lambasting anyone who made fun of them for sharing it in the first place.
"I find it strange that i’ve been chastised by reporters from NBC and other news outlets for my opinion," the band wrote. "Everything you guys have been reporting has been conjecture. if you want to be considered a respected authority of truth, do a better job. #EpsteinBodyDouble"
The hashtag there is doing a lot of heavy lifting, but that tweet came accompanied with a photo that suggested that the face of the body doesn't match the face of the Epstein while he was alive. It's impossible to say how Foster the People got access to those two photos posed exactly the same way, but sure. Foster the People continued to say that they will not, under any circumstances, stick to just making music and will continue to "to talk about social issues, cover-ups, and justice." They rounded it out with a couple more tweets talking about Epstein's connections to U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, and a plea to "support real journalism," which presumably includes whatever rigorously reported Reddit thread fueling these tweets.
In the immediate aftermath of Epstein's death, both joke accounts and legitimate conspiracists alike shared posts suggesting that reports of his demise were suspicious, given the potentially incriminating information he allegedly had about powerful friends, including the Clinton family and the President of the United States, among other celebrities and political powerhouses. Even New York Mayor Bill de Blasio made some comments that fed these sorts of rumors and theories, saying, according to BBC, that it was "way too convenient" that he died before more information came out.
It's easy to let your mind wander to, uh, alternate explanations for bad things happening. So don't blame Foster the People for peddling conspiracy theories, they're just doing what makes sense when nothing makes sense. Plus, there is some good advice buried in that tweet thread: "Fact check everything."