On March 17, 2020, as much of the world was occupied with concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus disease, a bizarre theory started to circulate on social media involving TV host Oprah Winfrey and accusations of pedophilia.
This rumor was largely driven by a series of images that supposedly showed Winfrey's house after it had been seized by authorities.
Winfrey's home was not raided. The television star was not arrested for sex trafficking and her home was not seized. A few hours after this rumor went viral, she took to Twitter to inform her fans that this was an "awful FAKE" rumor and that it was "NOT TRUE."
That should be enough to debunk this rumor. But let's take a look at the "evidence" anyway.
The first thing we noticed when looking at photographs supposedly showing the police raid at her house was that they didn't show her or any police. Rather, these pictures appear to show some road-construction signs.
The rumor about her home being raided during a sex-trafficking sting is part of a larger conspiracy theory pushed by the "Qanon" or "Q" community. While this theory is complex and often nonsensical, it can basically be boiled down to the following sentence: A global community of high-profile celebrities and politicians (aka "the deep state") exists that, when not performing satanic rituals and running a child sex-trafficking ring, tries to undermine U.S. President Donald Trump.
Craig Silverman, media editor at Buzzfeed, made this short video explaining the conspiracy theory:
A long piece of text was also circulated on social media that attempted to connect the dots between a series of false claims. It begins with "This morning at 4:30 a.m., Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was served [...]."
Winfrey is named in the third paragraph of this text in which the author speculates about future arrests.
We won't dive too deep into this text post. The general claim is that COVID-19 is fake and is being used to cover up mass arrests of celebrities and politicians for pedophilia. This is an outrageous and dangerous claim. The coronavirus is real, it has caused thousands of deaths around the globe, and it continues to spread at a rapid pace.
This post also claims that coronavirus is also being used for a "mass mandatory vaccination" program. This is an unfounded, dangerous, and ridiculous claim, especially when you consider the fact that testing for the disease is still drastically low. If you were going to create a fake disease to trick people into taking vaccinations, wouldn't you have these "mandatory vaccinations" ready when you released your fake bioweapon?
To sum up: Winfrey was not arrested and her home was not raided as part of a sex-trafficking sting. This rumor is an offshoot of a larger conspiracy theory that posits the coronavirus is being used to implement a "mandatory vaccination program" and cover up the arrests of celebrities such as Winfrey, Tom Hanks, and Ellen DeGeneres for their involvement in the "deep state's" global sex-trafficking operation.
In a word, this rumor is "False."