Three news sites — Forbes, HuffPost, and National Review — pulled pieces from contributors painting Jeffrey Epstein in a positive light in the past week after a New York Times inquiry into the disgraced hedge funder’s efforts at image rehabilitation.
Forbes published a piece in 2013 attributed Drew Hendricks that has since been partially removed, though the Times reported that he was given the piece by a public relations firm and paid $600 to post it on Forbes using his byline.
The Times also reported that Christina Galbraith, the woman whose byline is attached to the now-removed 2013 National Review article that is still archived here, worked as a publicist for Epstein himself.
And HuffPost said it removed a 2017 piece by Rachel Wolfson that praised Epstein for “taking action to help a number of scientists thrive during the ‘Trump Era'” at the author’s request.
Wolfson, a self-described “professional listener” who covers blockchain and whose Twitter bio advertises her work in Forbes, did not immediately respond to request for comment, nor did HuffPost. Hendricks and Galbraith did not immediately return requests for comment.
Epstein was arrested earlier this month and charged with sex trafficking by federal prosecutors, but over a decade prior to that, he pleaded guilty in Florida to soliciting a minor for prostitution. He served 13 months of an 18-month sentence and was released in 2009.
The Times reported that the billionaire soon afterward began a campaign of public rehabilitation.
The now-deleted stories are remarkably similar in language. The Forbes story called Epstein “a hedge funder with a zealous science background.” While the National Review post called him “hedge-fund manager with a passion for cutting-edge science.”
In early 2018, HuffPost ended its practice of publishing work from unpaid contributors like Wolfson, citing the proliferation of false information that comes with allowing, when it was all said and done, about 100,000 people to publish with little to no editorial review or oversight.
“Certainly the environment where fake news is flourishing is one where it gets harder and harder to support the idea of a ‘let a thousand flowers bloom’ kind of publishing platform,” editor-in-chief Lydia Polgreen said at the time, adding that unpaid content lacking editorial controls had created “messy, hard-to-hear places where voices get drowned out and where the loudest shouting voice prevails.”
On the Forbes site, where the “Hendricks” article once appeared, readers can still see his byline, headshot and work — to an extent.
“After review, this post has been removed for failing to meet our editorial standards,” an update at the top of the page reads, right under the headline, “Science Funder Jeffrey Epstein Launches Radical Emotional Software For The Gaming Industry.”
It goes on: “We are providing our readers the headline, author and first paragraphs for context only. We regret any inconvenience or confusion.”
There is no mention of specific details surrounding the removal of the piece.
Randall Lane, the chief content officer of Forbes Media, told the Times the process for screening outside contributions has been strengthened since the piece’s publication in 2013.
Similarly, NRO editor-in-chief Rich Lowry told the paper his publication “had a process in place for a while now to weed out such commercially self-interested pieces from lobbyists and PR flacks.”
Lowry and representatives for HuffPost and Forbes did not immediately return requests for comment.