Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Oprah forced to clarify that, no, she hasn't been arrested for sex trafficking

Illustration for article titled Oprah forced to clarify that, no, she hasnt been arrested for sex trafficking
Photo: Rodin Eckenroth (Getty Images)

So, while you were sleeping...

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Remember QAnon? The pro-Trump conspiracy cult that believes our president is locked in a war with a cabal of cannibalistic pedophiles in Hollywood and the Democratic Party? The one that scours bad Adam Sandler comedies for clues? Well, they’re at it again. See, a loony Facebook post began circulating, claiming the now-convicted Harvey Weinstein gave up info on all his pedophile cohorts, and also that the coronavirus is a hoax used as a cover for the arrests of people like Tom Hanks.

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Oprah was not mentioned in the post, but internet culture researcher Renee DiResta traces the fervor back to an accompanying YouTube video in which it’s suggested her home was raided and she was arrested for being part of a trafficking ring, à la Jeffrey Epstein. (Lest you forget, the far-right will do anything to smear their ideological enemies as pedophiles.) 

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Now, the QAnon cult has a shocking amount of reach online, but, per DiResta, these fictional allegations against Oprah spread mostly through non-QAnon people sharing the rumors with either concern or jokes/memes. “So it’s an inadvertent meta-trend,” DiResta writes, thus giving weight to what’s another completely fabricated conspiracy.

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Anyways, it’s all forced Oprah herself to clarify that, no, she hasn’t been arrested. She acknowledged that she was was being “trolled for some awful FAKE thing” late last night, adding, “Haven’t been raided, or arrested. Just sanitizing and self distancing with the rest of the world.”

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Basically, as absurd as all of this is right now, your memes aren’t helping. Some people will believe literally anything that crosses their timeline. So, while it’s tempting to post when one is locked in their home, it’s still important to think before one posts. Just ask Vanessa Hudgens.

Send Great Job, Internet tips to gji@theonion.com

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Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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