Fact Check: Netflix CEO Was NOT Busted with 13,000 files of Child Pornography

Fact Check

  • by: Alan Duke
Fact Check: Netflix CEO Was NOT Busted with 13,000 files of Child Pornography Fake News Site

Did Netflix CEO Reed Hastings get busted by the FBI on child porn charges? No, that's not true: This claim was published by a known fake news website and there is no evidence from local, state, or federal law enforcement that Hastings was arrested. In fact, Hastings was interviewed by CNN on Thursday -- when the raid of his Santa Cruz, California, home was purportedly happening -- and he has been active on Twitter in the days since. The details of the false story appear to have been stolen from a December 2019 article about the arrest of the CEO of a Utah company.

The claim originated in an article published by TorontoToday.net on September 12, 2020 titled "Netflix CEO gets BUSTED with 13,000 files of CHILD PORNOGRAPHY - Toronto Today" (archived here) which opened:

September 12, 2020 Los Gatos, California The CEO of a Netflix - Reed Hastings - has been caught by FBI agents with 13,000 files of child pornography. He was arrested at his home in California. He is facing 11 charges�related to the�seizure of more than 13,000 files of graphic child pornography on his computer and various removable storage units. Considered by many to

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:

Netflix CEO gets BUSTED with 13,000 files of CHILD PORNOGRAPHY - Toronto Today

September 12, 2020Los Gatos, California The CEO of a Netflix - Reed Hastings - has been caught by FBI agents with 13,000 files of child pornography. He was arrested at his home in California. He is facing 11 charges�related to the�seizure of more than 13,000 files of graphic child pornography on his computer and various removable storage units. Considered by many to

The details used in the false story were copied from a Utah news article titled Utah CEO arrested for possession of over 13,000 child pornography images published on December 19, 2019. Stolen details include the claim that:

13,020 files were sent to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children where 279 of the submitted files were identifiable child victims.

Netflix, and by extension Hastings, have been targeted by those who claim the streaming service's movie "Cuties" promotes pedophilia.

The suggestion that Hastings would be arrested surfaced on Twitter in the previous week:

TorontoToday.net has previously published outlandish claims debunked by Lead Stories, including:

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  Alan Duke

Editor-in-Chief Alan Duke co-founded Lead Stories after ending a 26-year career with CNN, where he mainly covered entertainment, current affairs and politics. Duke closely covered domestic terrorism cases for CNN, including the Oklahoma City federal building bombing, the UNABOMBER and search for Southeast bomber Eric Robert Rudolph. CNN moved Duke to Los Angeles in 2009 to cover the entertainment beat. Duke also co-hosted a daily podcast with former HLN host Nancy Grace, "Crime Stories with Nancy Grace" and hosted the podcast series "Stan Lee's World: His Real Life Battle with Heroes & Villains." You'll also see Duke in many news documentaries, including on the Reelz channel, CNN and HLN.

Read more about or contact Alan Duke

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