In August 2021, social media users enthusiastically shared what appeared to be a photograph of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris posing next to convicted sex offender and billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, who was found dead in prison in New York in August 2019, while awaiting sex trafficking charges.
Those who shared the picture online were predominantly critics of Harris and the Democratic Party, and included Irene Armendariz-Jackson, a Republican candidate for Texas’ 16th U.S. House district, who posted the photo on Aug. 25, along with the caption “Yikes!”
In reality, the picture was a fake — the result of relatively crude digital editing. The picture of Harris was taken during an event at The Broad, an art museum in Los Angeles, in September 2015. As shown below, it was captured by Getty Images photographer Jerod Harris, and the man standing next to Harris in the unedited photo was in fact her husband, Doug Emhoff:
The picture of Epstein, whose face is superimposed on to Emhoff’s in the fake version, appears to have been cut from his July 2006 arrest photo, taken by the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office in Florida. Epstein was arrested on a charge of solicitation of prostitution, and later pleaded guilty to that charge, as well as solicitation of a minor for prostitution. He was sentenced to 18 months and spent one year in a minimum-security correctional facility, before being released under house arrest.