Ugly rumors caused Oprah Winfrey's name to trend Tuesday night—and ultimately prompted a response from Oprah herself. A series of tweets that started getting attention on Sunday alleged that the celebrity's Florida home had been raided by police, who were "digging up the tunnels" there in connection with an alleged sex trafficking ring. (Never mind the fact that the Washington Post reports Oprah has no home in Florida.) The Guardian reports the tweets put forth theories: some noting the friendship Oprah enjoyed with Harvey Weinstein, others suggesting the novel coronavirus epidemic was somehow engineered to shift the spotlight away from the arrest of celebrities involved in the alleged ring—which, per the bonkers theory, included Tom Hanks and Justin Trudeau.
Oprah took to Twitter to respond: "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." As for the source of the bizarre allegations, they were thought to be disseminated by followers of QAnon, the conspiracy theory based on the idea that an anonymous government official is sharing top-secret information about a worldwide criminal conspiracy involving big-name celebrities and Democrats. In a tweet, director Ava DuVernay shamed those involved with the "disgusting rumor": "#Oprah has worked for decades on behalf of others. ... Shared her own abuse as a child to help folks heal. Shame on all who participated in this." (Read more Oprah Winfrey stories.)