Oprah Winfrey wants to make one thing clear: she has NOT been arrested for sex trafficking.
The media titan took to Twitter on Tuesday to deny she had been arrested or raided after her name was one of the social platform’s trending topics thanks to false rumors that had been circulating online. She wrote:
“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.”
Earlier in the evening, “Oprah” and “OPRAH DID WHAT” were trending topics on Twitter after a slew of tweets claimed that the mogul’s house in Boca Raton, Florida, was seized and roped off with red tape. Others connected the alleged reports of Oprah’s arrest to the spread of coronavirus, falsely claiming that the global pandemic is somehow a coverup for the mass arrest of celebrities involved in a sex-crime ring.
This wave of tweets appears to have originated from QAnon, a right-wing conspiracy group that posts ridiculous fake stories on every single social media platform, most of which perpetuate a large-scale conspiracy claiming that a global elite cabal is seeking to murder President Donald Trump.
Oprah isn’t the only celeb in QAnon’s crosshairs: a post on Twitter — which has over 2,100 retweets or shares — falsely claims that Tom Hanks didn’t actually test positive for coronavirus in Australia like he claimed, but that the beloved actor was actually arrested for pedophilia. The post goes on to say that other A-list stars will soon be arrested.
This dangerous group also pushed the thoroughly discredited “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory that went viral during the 2016 presidential election, purporting that Hillary Clinton and other “Washington elites” ran a pedophile ring out of a pizza restaurant in Washington DC. Not only did this theory derail Clinton’s campaign, it caused a North Carolina man to open fire with an assault rifle on the pizzeria in attempt to find and rescue the child sex slaves he believed were being held captive at the restaurant.
Now, it appears this disgusting group is at it again, and they’ve likely been inspired by the Sociopath in Chief publicly calling the COVID-19 pandemic a Democratic hoax — something that many of his supporters still believe, despite Trump having since declared a national emergency.
Thankfully, many are fighting this stupidity pandemic with reason. Selma director Ava DuVernay was one of many who defended Oprah from the false rumors, writing:
“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.”
Let’s hope these radical conspiracy theorists use this quarantine time to learn how to fact check.