Early Wednesday morning, the TV icon and OWN honcho took to Twitter — where her name was trending — to slam the false internet rumor that she had been arrested for a role in a global sex trafficking ring.
Winfrey, 66, called it an “awful FAKE” rumor and “NOT TRUE.” She said she hadn’t “been raided, or arrested.” In fact, she just been at home “sanitizing and self distancing with the rest of the world.”
False reports circulated claiming Winfrey’s Boca Raton, Florida, home had been raided and the talk show queen had been arrested. It included photos and video from outside the house and details about the home being cordoned off by authorities while it was raided and underground tunnels were searched. It claimed “Hollywood pedophiles” were arrested at the “child trafficking location.” (Winfrey has quite a real estate portfolio, but it does not include property in Florida.)
Just got a phone call that my name is trending. And being trolled for some awful FAKE thing. It’s NOT TRUE. Haven’t been raided, or arrested. Just sanitizing and self distancing with the rest of the world. Stay safe everybody.🙏🏾
— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) March 18, 2020
According to the Washington Post, the fake story was started by the far-right group QAnon, which is known for spreading outrageous conspiracy theories by an alleged "deep state" against President Donald Trump and his supporters. The fake info then spread quickly on social media — some say because people are at home in isolation, due to the coronavirus, with time on their hands.
The chatter was all over Twitter — with the hashtag #opraharrested — at which point, Winfrey spoke out.
And the Boca Raton Police have also since addressed the hoax, making it clear the whole thing is “absolutely false.”
— Boca Raton Police (@BocaPolice) March 18, 2020
Winfrey has since received support from friends and collaborators, including director Ava DuVernay whom she is working with on OWN’s Cherish the Day). DuVernay called it a “disgusting rumor” and “mean-spirited minds kept it going.”
Trolls + bots began this disgusting rumor. Mean-spirited minds kept it going. #Oprah has worked for decades on behalf of others. Given hundreds of millions to individuals + causes in need. Shared her own abuse as a child to help folks heal. Shame on all who participated in this. https://t.co/iavMEmtLe7
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) March 18, 2020
Here are some other reactions to the hoax:
The staggering amount of people believing a 100% fake story about Oprah doesn’t make me feel good about the chances of society continuing
— andy lassner (@andylassner) March 18, 2020
Will these people look inward and think "during a world-altering pandemic, I'm spending my time randomly accusing celebrities of pedophilia because it's providing me a sadistic sense of order in a time of chaos?"
Anyways, here's Oprah.https://t.co/L5NJrRCPKS
— Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) March 18, 2020
Just awoke to this foolishness. These trolls crave a space to flaunt their brokenness. Don’t fret. Spend some time today under The Apostles if you can. Stay safe and continue being a light of this world.
— Lonnell Williams (@3LWTV) March 18, 2020
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