In mid-October, JP Morgan & Chase Bank announced that they were cutting ties with Ye (Kanye West) for his alleged antisemitic remarks. Up until that point, Ye had used the bank for several of his business's finances. Was Ye's affiliation with JP Morgan & Chase really that detrimental to the organization? Did Ye's thoughts regarding the identity of Black Americans cause this much concern for the financial powerhouse? Seemingly, it did.
But there's another high-profile individual we must take a look at for further understanding of this issue. By now, I'm sure everyone is familiar with the name Jeffrey Epstein. This high-profile Hollywood billionaire was accused of facilitating the largest sex trafficking ring in history with the help of his accomplice and friend, Ghislaine Maxwell. Investigations in Florida regarding Epstein's endeavors began as early as 2005, but with the help of his law team in 2008, he pled guilty and faced only 18 months in state prison for one count of soliciting prostitution and one count of soliciting prostitution from a minor. According to Associated Press, "Under a secret arrangement, the U.S. attorney’s office agrees not to prosecute Epstein for federal crimes. Epstein serves most of his sentence in a work-release program that allows him to leave jail during the day to go to his office, then return at night." If this is the only punishment for the prostitution of minors, maybe all of us should start sex trafficking rings. Seems to be pretty lucrative.
By 2009, Epstein is released from jail but for the next decade, more victims come forward accusing Epstein of facilitating non-consensual sexual encounters with politicians, royalty, businessmen, and other rich and powerful men. To no one's surprise, these men deny all allegations. In the summer of 2019, Epstein is arrested on federal sex trafficking charges after The Miami Herald publishes several stories about him and his dealings. New York prosecutors conclude that they were not bound by the former plea deal that Acosta, former President Trump's labor secretary, arranged. After this was exposed, Acosta quickly resigned. Not long after that, Epstein is found dead in his New York City jail cell before his case is ever taken to trial.
But what does JP Morgan & Chase have to do with any of this?
According to NPR, "The government of the U.S. Virgin Islands alleges in a lawsuit filed this week that JPMorgan Chase "turned a blind eye" to evidence that disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein used the bank to facilitate sex-trafficking activities on Little St. James, the private island he owned in the territory until his 2019 suicide." After Epstein's 2008 conviction for soliciting a minor for prostitution, the bank continued to finance his personal endeavors and failed to report any suspicious activity. In fact, JP Morgan's former private wealth chief, Jes Staley, had a "profound" friendship with Epstein. The accounts under Staley's management were used to pay Epstein's victims and recruiters upwards of $600,000.
So where do we draw the line?
The second-largest bank in the United States helped finance the largest sex trafficking ring in history. This same bank terminated a business relationship with the richest black man in US history for speaking about his true identity and calling out the inequities in the entertainment and business industries. For JP Morgan, antisemitism is more dangerous than sex trafficking. Associating or doing business with JP Morgan should be equally as dangerous.
Why should we continue to support institutions that protect and support pedophiles but reject freedom of thought and ideas? We must stand for righteousness and truth. For anyone who banks with JP Morgan, why would you trust your finances in the hands of a company that facilitates sex trafficking? Why would you trust your finances in the hands of a company that despises any efforts to reach the truth? Answer this question to reach your conclusion. Which is worse: allegations of antisemitism or convictions of sex trafficking?