Fact Check

Fake Map Image Says Musk's Jet Was Flown to Jeffrey Epstein's Island

An image of a flight path was shared on Twitter that claimed Elon Musk's jet had made numerous trips to one of Epstein's islands.

Published Dec 16, 2022

 (Rick Friedman/Rick Friedman Photography/Corbis via Getty Images)
Image Via Rick Friedman/Rick Friedman Photography/Corbis via Getty Images
Claim:
An image shows that, since 2010, Elon Musk's jet was flown 12 times to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein's island, Little Saint James.

On Dec. 14, 2022, Twitter user Sheetz is Antifa (@wawajawn) posted an image of a map appearing to show that, since 2010, Elon Musk's jet had made 12 trips to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein's island, Little Saint James, in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

A user created a fake image of a map that purported to show that Elon Musk's jet flew 12 times to Jeffrey Epstein's island since 2010.

However, after other users reposted the image, @wawajawn soon admitted to creating it and said that it was fake.

A user created a fake image of a map that purported to show that Elon Musk's jet flew 12 times to Jeffrey Epstein's island since 2010. 

According to NBC News, a lawsuit that was settled in November alleged that Little Saint James and Great Saint James, both of which the late Epstein owned, were once used as "the base of an extensive sex trafficking operation."

The tweet with the fake map image was shared by @wawajawn on the same day that Twitter removed an account named @elonjet that had tracked the real-time location of Musk's aircraft. We previously reported on that story, which included the news of alleged stalking and the banning of several journalists, among other developments.

Shared on Twitter

Despite the map image being fake, it still spread on other Twitter accounts, including popular shares from Anonymous Operations (@AnonOpsSE) and a user named Keith Edwards (@keithedwards).

Edwards is a former communications director for the Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried's 2022 campaign. He also once worked for the anti-Trump organization known as the Lincoln Project.

Edwards tweeted, "This is old data from Elon's jet, so it's ok to share." This was somewhat of a response to a tweet Musk had shared just seven minutes earlier.

Musk's tweet read, "Any account doxxing real-time location info of anyone will be suspended, as it is a physical safety violation. This includes posting links to sites with real-time location info." The last part of the tweet was apparently what Edwards was referencing: "Posting locations someone traveled to on a slightly delayed basis isn't a safety problem, so is ok."

We reached out to Edwards via a Twitter DM to ask if he had posted the map image as a joke, but did not receive a response before publishing this story.

Reddit and 4Chan

A screenshot of @AnonOpsSE's tweet with the fake map image also appeared in new posts on Reddit. One Reddit post showed @wawajawn's original tweet.

Many of the comments in the posts, as well as replies to tweets, noted that there appeared to be no landing strip on Little Saint James, which would mean that the flight path in the image couldn't even be a possibility.

On top of all of the shares on Twitter and Reddit (and 9GAG), the fake image was even posted in a 4Chan thread. (The relevant post can be found by searching the page for the text, "elon-jet-epstein.jpg.")

Musk's Meeting with Epstein

While the map image was fake, we found that Vanity Fair did report in 2019 that Musk said he and his then wife, Talulah Riley, once met briefly with Epstein in New York. Musk added that he declined invitations from Epstein to visit his island. Musk and Riley later divorced.

"Several years ago, I was at his house in Manhattan for about 30 minutes in the middle of the afternoon with Talulah, as she was curious about meeting this strange person for a novel she was writing," Musk said. "We did not see anything inappropriate at all, apart from weird art. He tried repeatedly to get me to visit his island. I declined."

Riley also provided a statement on Twitter in 2020, saying that the single meeting with Epstein was nothing more than "part of an itinerary of appointments."

For further reading, we previously reported on a photograph of Musk and convicted sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell.

Note: According to an autopsy, Epstein died by suicide in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges in New York.

Sources

"Aircraft Inquiry." U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, https://registry.faa.gov/aircraftinquiry/Search/NNumberResult?NNumberTxt=628TS.

Bekiempis, Victoria. "Jeffrey Epstein Charged with Federal Sex Trafficking Crimes." The Guardian, 8 July 2019. The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jul/08/jeffrey-epstein-sex-trafficking-charges-court.

Descalsota, Marielle. "Meet Talulah Riley, the British Actress Who Married Elon Musk Twice and 'Took a Career Break' to Care for His Children with His First Wife." Insider, 7 Sept. 2022, https://www.insider.com/who-is-talulah-riley-elon-musk-wife-divorce-thomas-sangster-2022-9.

---. "Take a Look inside Elon Musk's $70 Million Private Jet, Which He Says Is the Only Exception to His Disdain of Luxuries like Yachts and Vacations." Business Insider, 22 Apr. 2022, https://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-private-jet-gulfstream-g650er-lifestyle-wealth-photos-2022-4.

_G0D_M0DE_. "Pedo Guy Elon Musk Visited Epstein's Island 12 TIMES!" r/Hasan_Piker via Reddit.com, 15 Dec. 2022, www.reddit.com/r/Hasan_Piker/comments/zmq6cb/pedo_guy_elon_musk_visited_epsteins_island_12/.

Hymes, Clare. Jury Finds Ghislaine Maxwell Guilty on Charges Tied to Jeffrey Epstein's Sex Trafficking Ring. 30 Dec. 2021, https://www.cbsnews.com/live-updates/ghislaine-maxwell-verdict-2021-12-29/.

J_Valente. "Streisand Affect + Elon." r/JoeRogan via Reddit.com, 16 Dec. 2022, www.reddit.com/r/JoeRogan/comments/zn2ina/streisand_affect_elon/.

Liles, Jordan. "Elon Musk's Jet and 'Crazy Stalker' Allegations, Explained." Snopes, 16 Dec. 2022, https://www.snopes.com/news/2022/12/16/elon-musk-jet-stalker/.

---. "Is the Elon Musk and Ghislaine Maxwell Photo Real?" Snopes, 25 Apr. 2022, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/musk-maxwell-photo/.

McKinley, Jr., James C. "What Is Known about Jeffrey Epstein's Suicide." The New York Times, 1 Dec. 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/01/nyregion/jeffrey-epstein-suicide.html.

Mihalascu, Dan. "Twitter Suspends 'ElonJet' Tracker Although Musk Had Pledged Not To." InsideEVs, 15 Dec. 2022, https://insideevs.com/news/626849/twitter-suspends-elonjet-tracker-although-musk-had-pledged-not-to/.

Musk, Elon. Twitter, https://twitter.com/elonmusk/.

NazisStoleMyGold. "Elon's Jet Has Been on Epstein Island Many Times." r/WhitePeopleTwitter via Reddit.com, 15 Dec. 2022, www.reddit.com/r/WhitePeopleTwitter/comments/zmgdvs/elons_jet_has_been_on_epstein_island_many_times/.

Norton, Tom. "Fact Check: Did Elon Musk Visit Jeffrey Epstein after Release from Prison?" Newsweek, 9 Nov. 2022, https://www.newsweek.com/fact-check-did-elon-musk-visit-jeffrey-epstein-after-release-prison-1757919.

Ogles, Jacob. "Nikki Fried Campaign Announces Trio of Key Communications Hires." Florida Politics - Campaigns & Elections. Lobbying & Government., 14 Mar. 2022, https://floridapolitics.com/archives/508146-nikki-fried-campaign-announces-trio-of-key-communications-hires/.

"/Pol/ - Why Has Elon Turned His Back on Freedom of Speech - Politically Incorrect - 4chan." 4Chan, 15 Dec. 2022, https://boards.4chan.org/pol/thread/408416848/why-has-elon-turned-his-back-on-freedom-of-speech.

razaxun. "Elon Musk Jet." 9GAG, 15 Dec. 2022, https://9gag.com/gag/axozVxb.

@Realitycheck8d. Twitter, https://twitter.com/realitycheck8d/.

Schapiro, Rich, et al. "Jeffrey Epstein's Estate Agrees to Pay the Virgin Islands More than $105 Million to Settle Civil Suit." NBC News, 30 Nov. 2022, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/jeffrey-epsteins-estate-agrees-pay-virgin-islands-105-million-settle-c-rcna59491.

Sherman, Gabriel. "As the Epstein Case Grows, Manhattan and DC Brace for Impact." Vanity Fair, 17 July 2019, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/07/jeffrey-epstein-case-grows-more-grotesque.

@TalulahRiley. Twitter, https://twitter.com/talulahriley/.

The Lincoln Project's Social Guru Keith Edwards on Going Viral. 2020, https://www.cbsnews.com/video/the-lincoln-projects-social-guru-keith-edwards-on-going-viral/.

Jordan Liles is a Snopes reporter with expertise in investigating misinformation, inauthentic social media activity, and scams.

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