Fact Check: Tom Hanks, Others NOT Arrested For Pedophilia Or Other Crimes in QAnon Conspiracy

Fact Check

  • by: Alexis Tereszcuk
Fact Check: Tom Hanks, Others NOT Arrested For Pedophilia Or Other Crimes in QAnon Conspiracy Hoax!

Was Tom Hanks arrested for pedophilia? No, this is not true: Hanks, who was being treated after contracting the novel coronavirus, was not arrested for pedophilia and being held in a hotel room in Australia as claimed as part of the QAnon conspiracy theory that Hanks and others are pedophiles or financial criminals being round up for alleged roles in international child sex-trafficking or schemes to dominate the globe..

The claim appeared as a post (archived here) published to Facebook by Juha Sawkat on March 15, 2020, under the title "Please Read And Start Opening Your Eyes". It opened:

Tom Hanks was arrested 48 hours ago for Pedophilia and he is currently being kept in a Hotel room in Australia refusing to fly back to USA. Next celebrity arrests will be Cรฉline Dion, Madonna, Charles Barkley, Kevin Spacey - all will claim Corona virus infections."

Social media users saw this:

This story is not true.

Hanks was diagnosed with coronavirus while filming a movie in Australia. He and his wife, Rita Wilson, were in the hospital for five days. They were then released and were recovering together. He was never arrested for pedophilia.

Shawkat also posted a screenshot of the alleged reports with the message:

Please read and start opening your eyes. Brittany Irons thanks for sharing. I've known all too well about all these distractions. At least now we see the details."

The screenshot of the message from Facebook user Daniel Robert Dowell does not seem to exist on Facebook.

As the story went viral, Tom Hanks was posting on his Instagram account about his quarantine on March 17, 2020, two days after the Facebook post about his arrest.

The group QAnon seems to have started the fake story and included both Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and television mogul Oprah Winfrey in the conspiracy.

The Washington Post called out the story on March 18, 2020, calling it an "unhinged conspiracy theory," after Winfrey's name started trending on Twitter in connection with a supposed arrest.

Late Tuesday night, as results trickled in from Democratic primary elections and the number of people infected by the novel coronavirus continued to climb, Oprah Winfrey's name began trending on Twitter.

An unhinged conspiracy theory had taken root, claiming that she was arrested for her role in a global sex trafficking ring. It reached a point where Winfrey felt compelled to address the rumors, which quickly spread across the Internet as people bored and trapped at home searched for some form of entertainment.

Winfrey Tweeted a response to the rumor late on March 17, 2020:

The claim became popular with QAnon followers, with more details about other fake arrests and legal actions that did not go as viral.

One of the pieces shared claimed this about Trudeau:

This morning at 4:30am our Prime Minster was served a criminal indictment by the US for corporate and financial crimes. Media owners were instructed to historically brainwash everyone that PM has Corona virus with his wife and that they wont be leaving their house for a while."

Twitter user Travis View wrote about using coronavirus being used to cover for the supposed conspiracy.

Here is The Washington Post's explainer video on QAnon:

Twitter user Respectable Lawyer posted he had tracked down the man who posted the original story about Oprah's house getting raided, noting it looked like a $30,000 bungalow in West Detroit - not any of Winfrey's mansions.

Hanks has been a constant target of QAnon, the far right-wing conspiracy group that claims he and others send secret messages through social media and other means that refer to pedophilia and child sex-trafficking.

In addition to targeting Hanks and Winfrey, the conspiracy claimed that Italy and the United Arab Emirates were two other countries where mass arrests and criminal indictments were served on pedophiles and child sex-traffickers.

None of this is true.

Want to inform others about the accuracy of this story?

See who is sharing it (it might even be your friends...) and leave the link in the comments.:

  Alexis Tereszcuk

Alexis Tereszcuk is a writer and fact checker at Lead Stories and an award-winning journalist who spent over a decade breaking hard news and celebrity scoop with RadarOnline and Us Weekly.

As the Entertainment Editor, she investigated Hollywood stories and conducted interviews with A-list celebrities and reality stars.  

Alexis’ crime reporting earned her spots as a contributor on the Nancy Grace show, CNN, Fox News and Entertainment Tonight, among others.

Read more about or contact Alexis Tereszcuk

Different viewpoints

Note: if reading this fact check makes you want to contact us to complain about bias, please check out our Red feed first.

About Us

International Fact-Checking Organization Meta Third-Party Fact Checker

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, misleading, deceptive or inaccurate stories, videos or images going viral on the internet.
Spotted something? Let us know!.

Lead Stories is a:


Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required

Please select all the ways you would like to hear from Lead Stories LLC:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.

Most Read

Most Recent

Share your opinion