MSNBC host Joe ScarboroughCharles (Joe) Joseph ScarboroughScarborough pleads with Biden to mandate vaccines for teachers, health workers Trump ramps up attacks on media Scarborough hosts critical race theory debate on 'Morning Joe' MORE was criticized over the weekend for a series of tweets about the apparent suicide of Jeffrey Epstein, with some members of the media accusing the “Morning Joe” co-host of promoting unfounded conspiracy theories.
Scarborough on Saturday took to Twitter following the death of the billionaire financier, who died while in jail on sex trafficking charges.
“A guy who had information that would have destroyed rich and powerful men’s lives ends up dead in his jail cell. How predictably...Russian,” Scarborough wrote.
“He reportedly tried to kill himself two weeks ago. And is allowed to finish the job now? Bullshit,” Scarborough continued, referring to reports that Epstein was found unconscious with injuries to the neck last month.
He reportedly tried to kill himself two weeks ago. And is allowed to finish the job now? Bullshit.— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) August 10, 2019
The "Morning Joe" host also retweeted comments from Brian Koppelman, co-creator of Showtime’s television show “Billions."
“Sure. Seems likely. Probably what happened. Hey, folks, we’re Russia now. Enjoy it,” Koppelman wrote.
Scarborough also retweeted Koppelman saying there was “no way” Epstein’s death was suicide even if there is photographic evidence from the jail’s security cameras.
“Having someone killed or hurt in jail can be as simple as leaving them unprotected. As simple as paying someone outside the jail,” the tweet from Koppelman read.
Look. I have studied powerful people and criminals for a long time. Even if there’s “photographic evidence” there is no way this was suicide.— Brian Koppelman (@briankoppelman) August 10, 2019
Having someone killed or hurt in jail can be as simple as leaving them unprotected. As simple as paying someone outside the jail. https://t.co/sCnvbs1A6k
Scarborough was criticized by several social media users for questioning the circumstances behind Epstein’s death online.
Andrew Kaczynski, a reporter at CNN’s KFile, on Saturday knocked Scarborough’s “reckless speculation” and called his tweets “as irresponsible as it gets.”
reckless speculation like this from someone with a platform and voice as large as yours is as irresponsible as it gets.— andrew kaczynski (@KFILE) August 10, 2019
“Joe, there's a lot of MSNBC reporters who do really good work writing about misinformation and conspiracies,” Kaczynski wrote as the two engaged on Twitter. “You make there job a lot harder when you use your voice to amplify it. And your RTs after your tweet are they visible, BTW – glib or not.”
Joe, there's a lot of MSNBC reporters who do really good work writing about misinformation and conspiracies. You make there job a lot harder when you use your voice to amplify it. And your RTs after your tweet are they visible, BTW – glib or not. pic.twitter.com/1JYYuHWtEB— andrew kaczynski (@KFILE) August 11, 2019
Scarborough apologized for making a “glib, offhanded comment” in a tweeted response to Intercept journalist Glenn Greenwald, who had also offered criticism of his tweets, but noted that he was also poking fun at unfounded conspiracy theories that the Clintons were involved.
He also insisted that his critics should calm down.
"Andrew, you really need to relax, learn how to apply context, and also learn how to use the word 'their,' " he responded in one tweet to CNN's Kaczynski. "Your self-righteousness and hysteria over a passing tweet is something. And if anybody at my network has a problem with a tweet, they’ve got my number."
Andrew, you really need to relax, learn how to apply context, and also learn how to use the word “their”. Your self-righteousness and hysteria over a passing tweet is something. And if anybody at my network has a problem with a tweet, they’ve got my number. https://t.co/F4sAsqOmNx— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) August 11, 2019
Conspiracy theories flourished in the hours after Epstein's death, and have led to criticism online.
The disgraced financier Epstein had associated in the past with both President TrumpDonald TrumpBaldwin calls Trump criticism following 'Rust' shooting 'surreal' Haley hits the stump in South Carolina Mary Trump files to dismiss Trump's lawsuit over NYT tax story MORE and former President Clinton, in addition to other wealthy and influential people in New York City.
Trump on Saturday retweeted a post promoting a conspiracy theory linking Epstein’s death to the Clintons without any evidence. He was roundly criticized for doing so by people on both sides of the aisle.
Other people on Twitter espoused theories linking the death to Trump.
Epstein, a registered sex offender, was arrested last month and was awaiting trial at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan.
He had apparently been taken off suicide watch and was reportedly not being monitored in his cell as directed before his death.
The New York Times reported that Dr. Barbara Sampson, the city’s top medical examiner, is confident Epstein died from suicide following an autopsy performed on Sunday but is waiting for more information before releasing her official statement.