Oprah Responds to Fake Sex Trafficking News: ‘Haven’t Been Raided, or Arrested’

Oprah Winfrey
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The TV personality took to Twitter to debunk an online conspiracy that started trending overnight.

Oprah Winfrey will not be a victim of online trolls. The former talk show host and TV personality took to Twitter to debunk false claims that she was arrested for sex trafficking charges following an online conspiracy that erupted on the social media platform overnight. 

According to Newsweek, “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 being alerted to what was happening, Winfrey responded on Twitter, reassuring her fans that this was nothing more than fake news. “Just got a phone call that my name is trending. And being trolled for some awful FAKE thing. It’s NOT TRUE,” she wrote. “Haven’t been raided, or arrested. Just sanitizing and self distancing with the rest of the world. Stay safe everybody.”

Winfrey was not alone in pushing back on these false accusations. Several friends came to her support on Twitter while Gayle King spoke out on CBS This Morning

“My story is about Oprah, something I never thought I’d be talking about,” King said. “She is debunking a strange conspiracy theory that was trending on social media overnight -- this was actually the No. 1 trend -- [a] fake report that claimed her home was raided by police and she was arrested on sex trafficking charges in Florida. Of course that is false.”

King then revealed that her best friend called her at 3:30 a.m. to fill her in on the story. “Of course I said do you wanna come on and talk about it and she said, ‘No. I am not gonna dignify it with a reply and you shouldn’t either,’” she reported. “She asked me not to say anything about it. But guys, it made me so mad because it is the antithesis of who she is, what she represents and how she lives in the world. But people see that stupid stuff online and it picks up a life of its own. So for anybody who believed it I don't have a response for that but I think we need to shut that down.”

Meanwhile, director Ava DuVernay slammed people for sharing the fake report. “Trolls + bots began this disgusting rumor. Mean-spirited minds kept it going,” she wrote. “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.”

Executive producer of The Ellen Show, Andy Lassner, also shamed people for believing the rumors. “The staggering amount of people believing a 100% fake story about Oprah doesn't make me feel good about the chances of society continuing,” he wrote.