CNN anchor Brian Stelter went on the defensive Wednesday in a series of tweets railing against the perils of social media. After a decade-old tweet resurfaced, some alleged the television host was linked to the late Jeffrey Epstein.
“Just how sick and poisoned has our information environment become?” Stelter asked his nearly 667,000 followers on Twitter. “Here’s an example that’s made my Twitter mentions unreadable.”
In 2009, the former New York Times reporter shared that he was visiting a place called “Epstein’s.” In today’s series of tweets, Stelter said that the tweet was shared from Foursquare, which he had previously used to share his location with his Twitter followers. Stelter explained that Epstein’s was a bar on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, and that the address included in the 10-year-old tweet confirms as much. An article published in August 2018 by Eater New York confirms that a bar with this name has existed at the address used in Stelter’s tweet.
“Today, people suddenly started replying to that tweet, falsely claiming I’m part of a Jeffrey Epstein conspiracy,” the host of Reliable Sources said. “That’s not only completely factually incorrect and dangerous, it’s nuts. And this insanity happens to all sorts of people, all the time.”
I'm at Epstein's (82 Stanton St, Allen St, NYC) .— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) April 19, 2009
In responses to the 2009 tweet, many did seem to implicate the CNN host in Epstein’s alleged crimes.
“So you knew,” one user wrote.
“Looks like someone has some explaining to do,” another said.
On the other hand, many responses to the tweet urged people to do a quick Google search of the address to determine the location in question was, in fact, a bar and not at all related to the late convicted sex offender of the same name.
Crazy memes falsely claiming I rode on Epstein's jet. Bots and anonymous commenters using words I don't even want to repeat. Normal people shrug and say, "that's just social media." No, it's ANTIsocial and sick. (4/5) pic.twitter.com/3IispBPIdL— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) November 6, 2019
In another tweet that referred to what was occurring on the platform as “ANTIsocial media,” Stelter shared screenshots of accounts he deemed “bots” and “anonymous commenters” sharing “crazy” memes, including one that alleged the CNN anchor had been to Epstein’s “pedo island.” Another screenshot asked if there was a link between Epstein, Stelter, and former President Bill Clinton.
In a final tweet in the thread, Stelter said he believed social media sites were “broken beyond belief” and added that he thought little was being done to address the issues.
Social media websites, like Twitter and Facebook, have received heavy criticism from politicians. Twitter made headlines earlier this week when it announced political advertisements would not be allowed. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress last month about his platform’s role in politics and demands for the potential breakup of the social media company, per Vanity Fair.
Stelter isn’t the first prominent figure to claim that they have been targeted by individuals saying they are associated with the late Epstein’s alleged crimes. Chrissy Teigen last week also sent a series of tweets that blasted people who said that she and her husband were linked to Epstein’s alleged pedophile ring.