Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel has threatened famed crank Aaron Rodgers, formerly renowned as a football player, with a lawsuit after the theoretical New York Jets quarterback implied he was an associate or even a client of Jeffrey Epstein.
Rodgers made the comments on Tuesday while appearing on Pat McAfee’s ESPN show, where he’s a weekly guest. While chatting with the hosts, Rodgers hinted that Kimmel may be included in the “Epstein list,” saying, “There’s a lot of people, including Jimmy Kimmel, really hoping that doesn’t come out.”
The talk show host did not pull any punches in his public response to the athlete.
“Dear Asshole: for the record, I’ve not met, flown with, visited, or had any contact whatsoever with Epstein, nor will you find my name on any ‘list’ other than the clearly-phony nonsense that soft-brained wackos like yourself can’t seem to distinguish from reality,” Kimmel wrote on X above a video of Rodgers making his comments. “Your reckless words put my family in danger. Keep it up and we will debate the facts further in court.”
Epstein, a disgraced financier and serial rapist who died by suicide shortly after being arrested on federal sex-trafficking charges, is one of the most infamous predators of the modern age. While alive he was well-connected among the powerful, including Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Prince Andrew and others.
The “list” to which Rodgers is apparently referring is a list not of Epstein clients and associates, but of 185 John and Jane Does whose names came up in court filings having to do with a since-settled lawsuit brought by Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre against Epstein’s partner, Ghislaine Maxwell. Epstein clients and associates are among the names, but so are victims and people who had nothing to do with anything. The Miami Herald has been doggedly arguing in court for the names to be revealed for years, and last month a judge agreed to do so; they are expected to be released any time now.
Somehow, this has become evidence to internet-addled conspiracy theorists that the government and the media are colluding to keep a list of Epstein clients secret. This has led to something of a Super Bowl of reckless and ignorant speculation for people who spend too much time on the computer without managing to come across any solid facts.
Kimmel has previously made fun of Rodgers' conspiratorial habits on his talk show. Last spring, he played other clips from McAfee’s show where Rodgers mentioned Epstein among other conspiracies, calling Rodgers a “tin-foil hatter” and saying “It might be time to revisit the concussion protocol, Aaron.”
Accusations of pedophilia and associations with Epstein have been a favorite cudgel of the conspiratorial crowd for some time now, and this is hardly the first time that Rodgers has strayed into conspiratorial territory. In 2021 he became a hero to the anti-vax and conspiracy crowd following his refusal to get a COVID-19 vaccination and praise for ivermectin and fake homeopathic vaccines. Despite his plain lack of credibility, Rodgers' comments have inspired posters with far too much time on their hands to seek any evidence, no matter how flimsy, linking Kimmel to Epstein.
ESPN, where the Pat McAfee show airs, and ABC, where Jimmy Kimmel Live airs, are both owned by Disney. VICE News has reached out to representatives for Rodgers, McAfee, and Kimmel, but did not hear back by the time of publication.