A fabricated snippet of Epstein’s court papers was shared to reveal Stephen Hawking’s 'proclivities'

By: Emmi Kivi
January 10 2024

Share Article: facebook logo twitter logo linkedin logo
A fabricated snippet of Epstein’s court papers was shared to reveal Stephen Hawking’s 'proclivities'

Source: Facebook/Instagram/Screenshots


The Verdict Fake

The document snippet detailing Hawking’s “proclivities” is fabricated and not included in the released Epstein court documents.

Claim ID 62d3700a

What is the claim?

Social media users have shared a screenshot of a snippet of a court transcript of a question-and-answer session that notes that theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking was a frequent visitor on Epstein's island.

The respondent also told the questioner that Epstein had disclosed Hawking's proclivities to the interviewed. An Instagram post caption reads, "Stephen Hawking enjoyed watching ‘undressed midgets solve complex equations' on a chalkboard that was set too high, according to the documents."

Logically Facts has determined that the document extract is fake and is not part of the recently released Epstein court records. It was originally posted as a meme.

What did we find?

Logically Facts found an X (formerly Twitter) post that appears to be the origin of the photo. The X account @drefanzor published another post on January 4, remarking that the image is not real and drawing attention that the image description of the original post says it is a meme. 

The document piece supposedly describing Hawking's proclivities is not recorded in the released court documents, and Logically Facts did not find any other credible reporting that would support the claim. 

Image on the left shows the X post from @drefanzor account, published January 4, acknowledging the piece of Epstein's court papers was
originally posted as a meme. Image on the right shows the fabricated court snippet that went viral on social media.
(Source: X/Facebook/Instagram/Modified by Logically Facts)

Stephen Hawking's name does appear twice in official documents released on January 3. The released documents are related to the 2015 lawsuit filed against Epstein's partner Ghislaine Maxwell by Virginia Giuffre. In an email correspondence from 2015 between Epstein and Maxwell shown on page 391 of the document, Epstein proposed a reward be paid to discredit allegations that Hawking [name misspelled] took part in an "underage orgy."

These screenshot are from the official court papers, released on January 3, showing the two times Stephen Hawking's name is mentioned in the so far released Epstein court documents. 
 (Source: documentcloud.org/Modified by Logically Facts)

Hawking's name was also mentioned in a request to Giuffre to hand over all photos or videos of her with several individuals, including Hawking (pages 779–780). A few months before Epstein was charged with multiple counts of unlawful sex with a minor in 2006, Hawking was one of the scientists participating in a five-day conference in the Caribbean funded by Epstein.

Logically Facts has covered other misleading and false claims and fabricated content related to Epstein's court papers and provided tips on how to fact-check related online claims as the story of the Epstein court documents still unfolds.

The verdict

The image of the court records is fabricated; it was originally published as a meme. The snippet reagarding Hawking’s proclivities is not recorded in the court papers and Logically Facts did not find any other credible reporting to support the claim. Hawking's name does appear in Epstein's court document released on January 3 but in a different context. Therefore, we have marked the claim as fake.

Would you like to submit a claim to fact-check or contact our editorial team?

Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before