A new “deepfake” video shows President Trump addressing the nation from his desk in the Oval Office — and then saying “Jeffrey Epstein did not kill himself.”
Deepfakes are a new phenomena in which videos are digitally altered to make it appear that someone is saying something they never said. With new technology, the fakes look real.
“My fellow Americans,” Trump says in the new video. “Many of you will have been following the impeachment proceedings brought against me by the Democrats. This political witch hunt is tearing our country apart and not in a good way. While I truly believe I’m innocent of all charges, I have nonetheless decided to make the following announcement: Jeffrey Epstein did not kill himself.”
The Trump video is the latest from a YouTube channel called TheFakening, which features numerous other fakes, like “Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson as Dora The Explorer Deepfake” and “Kevin Hart as Mr T in Anti-Drug PSA Deepfake.”
“As with any other deepfake, there are glitches in this new video,” Futurism reported. “Trump’s mouth movements incorrectly make it look like he’s pronouncing a ‘th’ sound several times towards the end of the announcement, creating a telltale mismatch between the audio and video. But as the underlying technology progresses, errors are getting smaller and less frequent.”
Videos on TheFakening are clearly labeled as deepfakes, though it’s conceivable that someone could rip and reshare the video, trying to pass it off as real. For now, there would be relatively little anyone could do to stop them.
California has banned political deepfakes under certain circumstances, but by and large there’s not much keeping deepfake propaganda from spreading across the internet.
The “Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself” meme has been sweeping the country since the convicted pedophile was found dead in his prison cell on Aug. 10. Epstein had been facing charges of trafficking and sexually abusing dozens of girls, some as young as 14, for more than a decade. Some high-level politicians, including Bill Clinton, and prominent individuals, including the UK’s Prince Andrew, had ties with Epstein.
For instance, rapper Suffa declared “Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself” during an acceptance speech at an awards ceremony in Australia last month.
“I’m going to get out a few thank yous because I think this is the last time you’re going to see us. To our road crew Mugga, Pauly, Snebs, everyone, you’re all legends and we love you. Thanks to our wives, our children. And Jeffrey Epstein did not kill himself. Thank you,” Suffa said at the ARIA Music Awards in Sydney.
Arizona Republican Rep. Paul Gosar once shared the meme in a series of 23 tweets in which the first letter of each tweet spelled out the phrase.
And there was this great one, too.
The meme spread further after the FBI, State Department, and the Metropolitan Correctional Center, all pointing to an official coroner’s report, claimed that Epstein hanged himself in his cell with strips of cloth cut from his own bedsheet.
A forensic pathologist, hired by Epstein’s brother, said the way Epstein’s hyoid, a U-shaped bone in the front and middle of the neck, was broken, indicated the possibility of strangulation rather than hanging.