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.)
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.”
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.”
Here are some other reactions to the hoax:
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