Fact Check: Oprah Winfrey Was NOT 'A Client On The Epstein List' -- Court Records Mention Her Name Once In Different Context

Fact Check

  • by: Uliana Malashenko
Fact Check: Oprah Winfrey Was NOT 'A Client On The Epstein List' -- Court Records Mention Her Name Once In Different Context Mention≠Client

Did recently published court documents reveal that celebrity TV host Oprah Winfrey was "a client" of registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein? No, that's not true: Lead Stories found a single mention of Winfrey in these documents, but that was an email discussing people who might be interested in the story of Virginia Giuffre, a former Epstein employee whose 2015 lawsuit against Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell makes up part of the court-released documents. The email Lead Stories found alleged nothing about Epstein providing illegal sexual services to Winfrey or having any association with her.

The claim originated from a post (archived here) on X, formerly known as Twitter, on January 3, 2024. It stated:

🚨BREAKING: Oprah Winfrey has been revealed as a client on The Epstein List.

This is what the post looked like on X at the time of writing:

Twitter screenshot

Screen Shot 2024-01-05 at 10.28.16 AM.png

(Source: X screenshot taken on Fri Jan 5 15:28:16 2024 UTC)

The claim implied that the TV host was on a secret list of celebrities who engaged in the sexual abuse of minors facilitated by Epstein, who died in jail in 2019 after a conviction for sex-trafficking minors.

But the court documents contain no such list.

In December 2023, U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska ordered the unsealing of a collection of court materials related to a lawsuit filed by Giuffre against Maxwell, an Epstein confidante and associate now serving 20 years in prison (archived here.)

The documents (archived here) were published on January 3 and January 4, 2024. They include the names of alleged Epstein victims, witnesses and associates, as cited in Giuffre's case. Most of these documents had already been uploaded online, with redactions.

Lead Stories searched those files but found nothing there to suggest that Winfrey had any connection to Epstein. She is mentioned only in the context of her work as a talk show host.

One June 8, 2011, email from Sharon Churcher, a journalist for The Mail on Sunday, a British tabloid, promotes the idea of a book by Giuffre, whose "human interest story," Churcher implied, could appeal to women who watch Winfrey's show.

The email can be seen on page 69 of Document 1325-2 (archived here) :

Screen Shot 2024-01-05 at 10.22.55 AM.png

(Source: Court Listener screenshot taken on Fri Jan 5 15:22:55 2024 UTC)

This is not the first claim targeting Winfrey. Previously, Lead Stories found no evidence to support a claim that she had visited Epstein's island in the Caribbean.

Additional Lead Stories fact checks of claims about Winfrey can be found here. Fact checks discussing Epstein can be read here.

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  Uliana Malashenko

Uliana Malashenko is a New York-based freelance writer and fact checker.

Read more about or contact Uliana Malashenko

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