Fact Check: Stephen King, Kevin Spacey Did NOT Announce They Will Leave US If 'Epstein Client List' Is Released -- No Such Public Comments Found

Fact Check

  • by: Uliana Malashenko
Fact Check: Stephen King, Kevin Spacey Did NOT Announce They Will Leave US If 'Epstein Client List' Is Released -- No Such Public Comments Found Unsupported

Did actor Kevin Spacey or writer Stephen King say that they would leave the United States if the "Epstein Client List" is made public? No, that's not true: Lead Stories found no evidence that King or Spacey made such comments. The claim came from a fake Donald Trump account on X. Contrary to the post, a federal judge in a civil case related to Epstein didn't decide on a specific list consisting exclusively of those who could be described as "Epstein clients" -- she ordered that the names of different people mentioned in court materials be made public.

The claim originated in a post (archived here) published on X, formerly known as Twitter, on December 20, 2023. It began:

🚨BREAKING: Stephen King and Kevin Spacey say they will leave the United States if the Epstein Client List is released.

What's your reaction?

This is what the post looked like on X at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2023-12-21 at 12.53.38 PM.png

Twitter screenshot(Source: X screenshot taken on Thu Dec 21 17:53:38 2023 UTC)

Despite the blue checkmark seen next to the account's name, the claim was not published by former President Donald Trump: His handle on X is different (archived here.)

Yet, when opened in a small browser window, the account's name shrinks in a way that amplifies the resemblance (the American flag and the word "News" aren't visible), as seen, for example, in a variation of the claim (archived here) found on Facebook -- that one incorporated a screenshot of the post on X:

Screen Shot 2023-12-21 at 4.36.10 PM.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Thu Dec 21 21:36:10 2023 UTC)

The claim referred to the decision made on December 18, 2023, by New York federal Judge Loretta A. Preska. She ordered the unsealing of dozens of names from court materials.

The Miami Herald reported:

Thirteen other people fought unsuccessfully to keep their names secret. The rest on the list -- about 150 people -- did not object to being identified, presumably because their names are already publicly known as associates or employees of Epstein and Maxwell, a British socialite who was convicted in 2021 of sex trafficking underage girls.
Their circle of friends included former presidents, world leaders and moguls in business and finance. To date, only Maxwell has been convicted of crimes associated with Epstein's sex trafficking operation.

The materials are related to a prior civil settlement with one of the victims, but what is planned to be made public is not quite the "Epstein Client list."

As reported (archived here) by the AP, it is a much broader group of people that includes more than Epstein's influential acquaintances:

... sex abuse victims, litigation witnesses, Epstein's employees -- and even some people with only a passing connection to the scandal...

The only exception was made for those who were minors when the abuse took place if they hadn't already revealed their identities.

Those whose names are scheduled to be released had time to appeal before January 1, 2024.

A search for the names of Stephen King and Jeffrey Epstein contained in the same news article (archived here) across Google News narrowed down to December 2023 results did not show a single English-language source:

Screen Shot 2023-12-21 at 2.02.53 PM.png

(Source: Google News screenshot taken on Thu Dec 21 19:02:53 2023 UTC)

King is active on X, but, as of this writing, none of his December posts discuss either Epstein or immigration from the United States. Instead, he was consistently critical of Trump and once -- of Christmas movies.

"Pervasion of Justice," a book written by Miami Herald reporter Julie K. Brown, who was one of the first journalists to investigate Epstein, doesn't contain references to King:

Screen Shot 2023-12-21 at 3.05.44 PM.png

(Source: Epub via NYPL screenshot taken on Thu Dec 21 20:05:44 2023 UTC)

Spacey's name resurfaced in connection with Epstein fairly early -- in the 2002 New York Magazine profile of the not-yet-disgraced financier:

Screen Shot 2023-12-21 at 3.58.29 PM.png

(Source: Archive.Today screenshot taken on Thu December 21 20:58:29 2023 UTC)

And it's the only reference to Spacey in Brown's book:

Screen Shot 2023-12-21 at 3.06.31 PM.png

(Source: Epub via NYPL screenshot taken on Thu Dec 21 20:06:31 2023 UTC)

Spacey has an account on Instagram. But, as of this writing, his most recent post was from December 2020:

Screen Shot 2023-12-21 at 4.13.51 PM.png

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Thu Dec 21 21:13:51 2023 UTC)

In July 2023, the former Hollywood actor was acquitted (archived here) of sexual assault charges in London in a case unrelated to Epstein.

In December 2023, news headlines about Spacey found on Google News (archived here) predominantly discussed the idea of his comeback to the industry as well as his trip to Rome, which also took place this month.

Had Spacey said anything about the release of court files related to Epstein, that would not go unnoticed by the media. But Lead Stories found no credible reports about it.

Lead Stories reached out for additional comments to representatives of Spacey and King. If we receive a response, this story will be updated as appropriate.

Other Lead Stories fact checks on claims about the entertainment industry can be found here.

Want to inform others about the accuracy of this story?

See who is sharing it (it might even be your friends...) and leave the link in the comments.:

  Uliana Malashenko

Uliana Malashenko is a New York-based freelance writer and fact checker.

Read more about or contact Uliana Malashenko

About Us

International Fact-Checking Organization Meta Third-Party Fact Checker

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, misleading, deceptive or inaccurate stories, videos or images going viral on the internet.
Spotted something? Let us know!.

Lead Stories is a:


Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required

Please select all the ways you would like to hear from Lead Stories LLC:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.

Most Read

Most Recent

Share your opinion