Jeffrey Epstein’s Private Island: An Insightful Metaphor for Trump’s White House and Threats to Civil Rights

Tim Libretti, PhD
5 min readAug 19, 2020
Jeffrey Epstein’s private island, proudly waving the American flag.

Recently prosecutors handling the charges against Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite accused of aiding and abetting billionaire Jeffrey Epstein in his years-long systematic sexual abuse and trafficking of young girls, denied the request of Maxwell’s lawyers to turn over the names of her accusers.


These women have lived in fear of the power and wealth wielded by Maxwell and Epstein, terrorized by their intimidation. For years, Maxwell and Epstein maintained their privacy carefully, but these accusers, often facing threats, don’t deserve such privacy, according to Maxwell’s counsel.

The Netflix documentary Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich lays out in painful detail the way Epstein and Maxwell used their wealth to create something of their own private world, manufactured around the sole objective of feeding the illicit and abusive sexual appetites of Epstein and those in his circle. Epitomizing this private world, existing apart from and seemingly immune from the laws, morality, and oversight that apply to and regulate the behavior of most of us in this world, is Epstein’s privately owned Caribbean Island.

The island is something of its own little commonwealth, equipped with all-seeing surveillance cameras and its own security, and it’s not quite clear in the film if the island is subject to any other sovereignty or oversight. And it is here, we learn in the film from those women brave enough to talk publicly, that many of Epstein’s circle of powerful and wealthy men joined him, though the film does not confirm the extent to which each of these men participated in the sexual abuse and trafficking.

This circle, as represented in the film, included such figures as Prince Andrew, Alan Dershowitz, Bill Clinton, and, yes, the current President of the United States Donald Trump.

Watching the film, it struck me that Epstein’s island really exemplifies and clarifies the political dynamics and ruling attitudes in the Trump administration that have been re-shaping in corrosive ways not just the political culture in the nation but American culture and society altogether.

Tim Libretti, PhD

Professor of Literature, Political Economy enthusiast, Dad, always thinking about the optimal world