In September 2020, Netflix released the movie "Cuties," a controversial French film that features 11-year-old girls dancing in a provocative manner.
The movie immediately received backlash online, with netizens accusing the streaming service of promoting pedophilia due to the nature of the film and the promotional poster that Netflix used for the film.
Did the CEO get arrested?
TorontoToday.net published an article stating that the CEO of Netflix, Reed Hastings, had been arrested for possessing child pornography.
The report is not genuine. Hastings was not arrested by the FBI, and it is also not true that he has child pornography collection.
Those allegations are baseless, and there is no proof. The rumor had been driven by the recent pedophilia panic that was fueled by the release of the controversial French movie.
Hastings is the CEO of Netflix, which is one of the world's largest streaming services. If he had been arrested by the FBI like what the report claimed, it would be all over the news, and the FBI would issue a warrant. There should have been headlines about it if it did happen.
However, the only source for this news is on a random social media post and an article published to a website with a history of spreading misinformation.
TorontoToday.net is a new website, but it has already been responsible for at least two viral hoaxes. One of them involved "Black Panther" actor Chadwick Boseman, who died from colon cancer in August.
The site published a false report and claimed that the actor was poisoned. The site also posted a rumor that the daughter of Russian President Vladimir Putin died from a COVID-19 vaccine.
The website deleted its false report about Hasting's arrest. The site originally published the article with the headline stating that the Netflix CEO had 13,000 files of child pornography, yet no evidence or further explanation was given.
The website claimed they received threats of litigation over the original article that was posted from a "billionaire that we won't name."
TorontoToday.net stated that upon consideration, they had removed the original article from their website, and they will control their Facebook and Twitter accounts.
The fake report about the arrest of Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is just the latest in a long series of false rumors concerning pedophilia.
In 2020, pedophilia panic consumed portions of the internet, in part because the false rumors were being amplified by the growing QAnon conspiracy movement.
For the past few months, numerous false rumors about child trafficking on furniture stores spread on social media, with cabinets being used to traffic children, according to BBC.
Numerous department stores were also called out for selling shirts with images of pizza, as it "promotes pedophilia." Greece was also in hot water after it classified pedophilia as a disability, preventing the arrest of pedophiles.
While sex trafficking and pedophilia are real issues, the stories about furniture stores trafficking children, and the Netflix CEO being arrested for child pornography are not true.
The National Human Trafficking Hotline released a statement saying that these pedophilia conspiracy theories were making it more difficult to help those who are actually in danger of being trafficked.