According to The Washington Post, the fake report, which has now been taken down from YouTube, claimed that Winfrey had been arrested at her home in Boca Raton, Florida and that authorities had evacuated her property to search for underground tunnels.
“Just got a phone call that my name is trending,” Winfrey wrote on her verified Twitter account. “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 added.
The Washington Post explains that the bogus report was started by followers of QAnon, which perpetuates a bizarre conspiracy theory that “centers on the idea that an anonymous government official, or ‘Q,’ has been secretly sharing messages and symbols that serve as evidence of a hidden plot to overthrow Trump.” This group believes that many politicians and celebs belong to a secret international group of pedophiles and will soon be arrested.
Following the viral report, Ava DuVernay supported Winfrey online, calling out “trolls” and “bots” for the “disgusting rumor.”
“Trolls + bots began this disgusting rumor. Mean-spirited minds kept it going,” Ava tweeted. “#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,” she added.
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.