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