During Thursday’s broadcast of Tucker Carlson Tonight, fill-in host Brian Kilmeade mentioned the Florida judge who reportedly approved the search warrant used by the FBI to raid Mar-a-Lago on Monday and who has subsequently faced death threats for doing so.
During Kilmeade’s commentary, however, a fabricated image of two separate photographs appeared on screen depicting Judge Bruce Reinhart on an airplane receiving a foot massage from convicted sex offender Ghislaine Maxwell.
On Friday afternoon, nearly a full day after the segment aired, Kilmeade took to Twitter not to apologize but rather to claim that the fake image was shown on the news network purely as a goof.
“Last night while subbing for Tucker Carlson, we showed you an image of Judge Bruce Reinhart w/ Ghislaine Maxwell that was sourced on screen to a meme pulled from Twitter & wasn’t real,” the Fox star posted online. “This depiction never took place & we wanted to make clear that we were showing a meme in jest.”
If the image was shown purely in “jest,” as Kilmeade claimed a day later, it may not have been entirely clear in real-time. It took Sean Hannity of all people to plainly spell out the image’s inauthenticity: During the handoff to the primetime star’s show, Hannity pointed out for viewers that the image was digitally altered.
“I think that’s actually a picture of Jeffrey Epstein with somebody putting [the judge’s] head on there,” Hannity said. As Snopes pointed out, the judge’s upper body was substituted for Epstein’s.
The image credit that Fox News listed is a Twitter user whose handle is @whatimemetosay and who describes themselves as a “meme creator” and “digital art creator,” and Reinhart is currently facing an onslaught of violent and antisemitic death threats—all arguably making Kilmeade’s actions even less excusable.