A screenshot circulating on social media is being cited as proof that the late Stephen Hawking may have had a fetish for little people. But the image, purportedly from a court document related to deceased pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, is fake.
The claim appeared shortly after hundreds of files from the civil suit between Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell and alleged victim Virginia Giuffre were published online Wednesday. The fabricated image is doctored to show an alleged victim describing the theoretical physicist’s sexual proclivities, according to Epstein.
Specifically, Hawking is accused of enjoying “watching undressed midgets solve complex equations on a too-high-up chalkboard.”
The image quickly went viral across X, where users began sharing countless memes related to Hawking.
The screenshot appears to have originated from a meme account, which expressed shock at how many people had been fooled by the joke.
“I thought it was outlandish enough to be obvious, but,” the user said.
Although the image is doctored, Hawking did have a relationship with Epstein.
The former Cambridge professor was famously photographed on Epstein’s island in 2006 while attending a conference, just months before the financier was first charged with child sex offenses.
Hawking was also mentioned in the newly released court documents. An email showed how Epstein had promised to financially compensate a friend of Giuffre after the alleged victim accused Hawking of engaging in an underage orgy.
Hawking is not the first high-profile figure to be used in disinformation since the release of the court documents. Another fabricated screenshot showed an Epstein victim accusing comedian Jimmy Kimmel of having sex with them.
Just two days prior, Kimmel threatened to sue Aaron Rodgers after the NFL quarterback suggested during an interview that the comedian might be mentioned in the documents. Kimmel’s name has not appeared in any files related to Epstein.