Media mogul Oprah Winfrey has debunked a conspiracy theory that she had been detained on sex trafficking charges and her home had been raided by police.
A fake report went viral saying that she had been arrested at her home in Boca Raton, Florida, pushing her name to the top of Twitter’s trending topics for several hours on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.
After the 66-year-old was informed she was the subject of the false reports, she used her verified Twitter account to refute the bogus claims.
“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,” she tweeted.
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
The false report was also accompanied by a video in which a purported news reporter said that her house had been cordoned off by authorities and was being excavated for underground tunnels. The fabricated report also implicated other celebrities such as Celine Dion, Madonna, Charles Barkley and Kevin Spacey.
The Daily Mail and CNN reported that the bogus story had been started by the far-right group QAnon, which is known for spreading wild conspiracy theories.
The fake news sparked a huge response on Twitter, with some linking it to the amount of time on people’s hands now that they are stuck at home due to the coronavirus.
Respectable Lawyer tweeted that the body cam footage of the supposed raid on the multi-millionaire Oprah’s house showed that she “apparently lives in a $30k bungalow in west Detroit.”
Executive producer of The Ellen Show, Andy Lassner, tweeted to his 483,000 followers: “The staggering amount of people believing a 100% fake story about Oprah doesn’t make me feel good about the chances of society continuing.”
CNN reporter Ben Jones tweeted: “Welp, Oprah is the top trend in the United States because QAnon people completely made up that she was arrested as part of their fictitious baby eating ring. These people’s delusions are extremely unwelcome at this moment.”
Mother Jones journalist Ali Breland, tweeted: “The maniacs still awake on this website made a hoax about Oprah being arrested for sex trafficking go viral, then the benevolent maniacs debunked it, and then Oprah herself responded, all in the 8ish hour window that reasonable people are asleep.”
New York Times reporter Astead Herndon tweeted: “Yall made Oprah tweet after midnight. You should be ashamed of yourselves.”