Winfrey jumped on Twitter late Tuesday to defend against an elaborate conspiracy theory gone viral that she had been arrested for involvement in a child sex trafficking ring.
Twitter does some strange things and can sometimes get the most random things trending, and that's exactly what happened to Oprah Winfrey, who suddenly had to defend herself at 10:39 p.m. over an abhorrent conspiracy theory tied to the greater right-wing QAnon theory.
"Just got a phone call that my name is trending. And being trolled for some awful FAKE thing," Winfrey tweeted late Tuesday night. "It's NOT TRUE."
Instead, she insisted she's "sanitizing and self distancing," as has been recommended for everyone during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Apparently, some are rather spending their time buying into vast conspiracies.
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.🙏🏾
The fake reality Winfrey woke up to was even worse than most could believe, with a story that Winfrey had been arrested in a dramatic raid at her Florida estate for her involvement in a child sex trafficking ring. These are, of course, incredibly serious allegations, which is probably why Winfrey was so quick to discredit them by proving she was not arrested with a tweet and denying all of it.
The original "report" included so-called video footage of the raid, with Newsweek reporting the bodycam footage in that video was not at Winfrey's home. One person described the house shown in the video as a "$30k bungalow in west Detroit."
According to several outlets, including Heavy.com, The Daily Mail and CNN reporter Ben Collins, the allegations are rooted with QAnon, the same right-wing conspiracy theory developed in 2017 that perpetuated the idea of a "deep state" and believes that Trump has been working to take down "Hollywood elites who had secretly been running a Satanic cannibalistic child-sex cabal in the U.S. and around the world," per Heavy.
The current allegations are an expansion of the 2016 "pizzagate" debunked conspiracy theory that alleged Hillary Clinton and other high-ranking Democrats were involved in a human and sex trafficking ring out of the basement of a pizza parlor -- that had no basement (and that was just one piece of debunking evidence).
QAnon further suggests that Jeffrey Epstein's arrest and subsequent suicide is just further evidence to propagate their dangerous conspiracies. And they didn't stop with Winfrey, suggesting also that both Tom Hanks (who is recovering from coronavirus) and Charles Barkley were also arrested.
QAnon believes that Hanks' COVID-19 diagnosis was a cover-up for him being arrested on the same charge as part of Trump's efforts to clean up Hollywood and that Harvey Weinstein made a plea deal to reduce his sentence from 55 years to 23 by naming names, including Winfrey, Hanks, Ellen DeGeneres, Joe Biden, Bill Clinton and many more.
They've even gone so far as to suggest the virus is all part of a vast cover-up that involves world leaders, the Vatican and Hollywoo's elite. Now, these types of radical extreme conspiracy theories have always existed on the fringes of society, but it's rare for one to emerge into the mainstream like this, leading many on Twitter to actually question the veracity of the claims once Oprah's name started trending without checking the source.
It seems ludicrous to have to publicly debunk such an over-the-top and elaborate conspiracy theory, but this is what's happening, as several among Oprah's Hollywood friends chimed in during the overnight hours, with many more across media and the general public chiming in.
These calls of support for Winfrey should only expand as America wakes up to find her still trending and begins to dig into what's being said about her:
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
Anyone pushing this Oprah sex trafficking nonsense needs to understand it comes from #QAnon an internet cult that claims everyone in Hollywood and all liberals are Satanists who kill children and drink their blood and that Donald Trump will defeat them all and save the world.
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?"