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Robert Downey Jr. did not ‘blow the whistle’ on a Hollywood pedophile ring

July 29, 2020 GMT

CLAIM: Actor Robert Downey Jr. has made a “shocking revelation and lifted the lid on a major Hollywood pedophile ring.”

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The words attributed to the actor have circulated on social media for years and can be traced back to anonymous comments on a gossip blog. Downey has never said anything matching these statements, his attorney confirmed to The Associated Press. 

THE FACTS: An Instagram post viewed more than 68,000 times in 24 hours this week claims an elite Hollywood pedophile ring is emerging before our eyes, and ‘Iron Man’ frontman Robert Downey Jr. is here to tell us all about it.

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“Movie star Robert Downey Jr. has made a shocking revelation and lifted the lid on a major Hollywood pedophile ring that connects powerful Elites ‘all over the globe,’” the post reads. 

It continues, “Not only has he named some well known Hollywood celebrities, but he’s also ousted one of the most powerful people in America, who he says is a ‘Rosetta Stone of every perversion from Hollywood all over the globe’ and provides depraved services for ‘Arabs, Wall Street, DC, Royals, and Hollywood elites’.”

This post and all the claims within it are bogus, Downey’s attorney Tom Hansen confirmed to the AP. 

An internet search for the quoted words in the post reveals these false claims have appeared on a variety of websites over the years. They can be traced back to anonymous comments from 2012 on the gossip blog Crazy Days and Nights, according to archived versions of the site. 

The false claims reemerge as conspiracy theories about pedophilia and child trafficking have been shared without evidence in recent weeks, most prominently about the online furniture retailer Wayfair.

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536