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The claim: Tom Hanks became a Greek citizen because pedophilia there is considered a disability.
A QAnon conspiracy theory making the rounds on social media falsely claims Tom Hanks became a citizen of Greece because it classifies pedophilia as a disability.
A July 28 Facebook post that was shared more than 2,300 times said, “while everyone was distracted by coronavirus Tom Hanks became a citizen of Greece … a place that recognizes pedophilia as a disability,” with a side eye emoji. That Facebook user, Gigi Kundalini, told USA TODAY that she found the Greek citizenship news through a BBC article, but did not comment on the other claim about pedophilia.
The post is part of a larger trend of posts that question Hanks' new Greek citizenship, alluding to Hanks being involved in child sex trafficking.
Some of the posts include hashtags for QAnon, a far-right conspiracy theory that alleges the world is controlled by a small group of elites who are pedophiles and devil worshippers. Part of QAnon’s theory is a “deep state” entity run by politicians, celebrities and business leaders who operate a child sex trafficking ring and are working against Trump.
QAnon supporters have also alleged that other celebrities are tied to child sex trafficking, such as Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres and the Clintons. USA TODAY has rated those accusations as false as well.
When Hanks first was in quarantine back in March after contracting the novel coronavirus, some posts alleged he was arrested for pedophilia. Those were also reported as false.
Did Tom Hanks become a Greek citizen?
Yes, he did, along with wife Rita Wilson, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotaki announced. On July 26, Mitsotaki posted a photo on Instagram of himself with Hanks and Wilson who were holding up Greek passports saying they “are now proud Greek citizens!” followed by a Greek flag emoji and a thumbs up emoji.
A post shared by Kyriakos Mitsotakis (@kyriakos_) on Jul 25, 2020 at 11:02pm PDT
Hanks, Wilson and their children were awarded honorary Greek citizenship after their work in bringing attention to a July 2018 wildfire near Athens that killed more than 100 people, according to the BBC.
Hanks and Wilson have been visiting Greece for years and own a home on the island of Antiparos, BBC reports. Wilson also has Greek heritage, and Hanks converted to the Greek Orthodox Church. They have both expressed their love and admiration for the nation.
In January at the Golden Globes, Hanks mentioned his honorary citizenship.
“Greece is a haven,” he said. “My family goes to Greece. I’ve been around the world. I’ve been to the most beautiful places in the world. None of them tops Greece.”
Is pedophilia listed as as a disability in Greece?
Pedophilia is not considered a disability under Greek law.
In 2012, there was proposal in Greece to include behavioral disorders “such as compulsive gamblers, pyromaniacs, pedophiles and fetishists on the list of disabilities,” according to a Snopes.com fact-check. The idea was the additions would enable better medical assessments, but the classifications was not meant to affect disability benefits, according to BBC as well as Business Insider.
However, the idea drew quick outrage, including from the Greece National Confederation of Disabled People, which said in a press release that conditions like pedophilia, pyromania, voyeurism, ostentation and sadomachism were removed from the new Disability Identification Table after a huge upheaval occurred throughout Greek society.
Faced with the uproar, the proposal was short-lived and pedophilia was scratched from the list a few months later, according to Snopes.
Greece’s current Disability Assessment Application, read via Google Translate, does not include pedophilia or other conditions like pyromania and sadomachism. The application instead mentions conditions like deafness, blindness and disorders like hemolytic anemia.
Is there any evidence that Tom Hanks is a pedophile?
There is no evidence that Tom Hanks has engaged in pedophilia.
A search for “Tom Hanks” on California’s sex offender registry and the U.S. Department of justice’s national sex offender registry resulted in no records, according to a previous fact-check from USA TODAY.
Some of those claims regurgitated through QAnon conspiracy theorists stem from a belief that Hanks, along with many other celebrities and political leaders such as the Clintons, are involved with Jeffrey Epstein in an alleged child sex trafficking ring. Some QAnon theories allege Hanks was a frequent visitor to Epstein's island and flew on Epstein’s jet. A look at the flight logs of Epstein’s jet by Reuters contain no evidence of Hanks ever being on the plane.
Our rating: Partly false
It is true that Tom Hanks, along with his wife Rita Wilson, did become a citizen of Greece. But Greece does not classify pedophilia as a disability, and there is no evidence that Tom Hanks is a pedophile. The allegations are a series of conspiracy theories purported by QAnon supporters. We rate this claim as PARTLY FALSE, based on our research.
Our fact-check sources:
Snopes.com, July 31, Is Pedophilia Considered a Disability in Greece?
Misbar.com, Aug. 1, Greece Didn’t Classify Pedophilia as a Disability
BBC.com, March 12, 2012, Greece disability list sparks welfare benefits row
Business Insider, Jan. 10, 2012, The Greeks Are Confused By A New Law That Would Classify Pedophiles And Pyromaniacs As 'Disabled'
Greek National Confederation of Persons with Disabilities, Significant positive changes in the new disability assessment panel
Greece, Electronic National Social Security Agency, Disability Certification Center
Newsbreak.com, March 18, Fact Check: Tom Hanks, Others NOT Arrested for Pedophilia Or Other Crimes in QAnon Conspiracy
Reuters, Fact-check: Tom Hanks is not recorded in Jeffrey Epstein’s flight logs
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Tom Hanks is Greek citizen, but pedophilia claim is false