Fake News Story Claiming Netflix CEO Reed Hastings Was Arrested Continues to Spread

Leila Kozma - Author

Feb. 17 2021, Updated 6:01 p.m. ET

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings
Source: Getty Images

A fast-spreading rumor from September 2020 that Netflix CEO Reed Hastings was arrested — after authorities allegedly found 13,000 files containing child pornography on his computer — is still circulating via social media and beyond. It was originally thought that the gossip originated from well-known fake news website Toronto Today, since they published the text under the category of Conspiracy Files.

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However, it was proven to be untrue. Still, social media users have continued to share this story as fact with their followers en masse. Unlike what the articles and posts claim, Reed is not facing criminal charges. 

netflix ceo arrested
Source: Twitter
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Netflix CEO Reed Hastings became the subject of a vicious rumor overnight that continues to spread.

According to the false allegations, Reed's house was raided by FBI agents who found child pornography, alongside homemade videos, that saw the influential businessman assault "several unconscious women," on his computer. 

As Toronto Today prompts, the Netflix CEO also operated a drug laboratory in a downstairs bedroom closet of his California home. All of these claims are made up. 

According to Toronto Today, Reed was facing 11 charges for the possession of child pornography, operating a Breaking Bad-style lab inside a wardrobe, and the like. 

Unfortunately, the vicious rumor started gaining traction on social media with breakneck speed, with some, arguably less-attentive readers venturing so far as to argue that Netflix should be boycotted. 

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"Netflix CEO arrested for child Pornography. This man is sick!," tweeted a person. 

"So many people still have so little idea how entrenched pedophilia is among the elites in this world.  These people are sick & demented.  Give them due process. Then give the guilty the quick & swift death they deserve.  We must demand this evil be purged," wrote another person. 

"Netflix CEO Is BUSTED with 13,000 files of CHILD PORNOGRAPHY," opined someone else. 

netflix ceo arrested
Source: Twitter
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'Toronto Today' denies being the source of the fake news claim about Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.

While it's clear that once rumors gain traction there's no stopping them, people are coming out of the woodwork saying that it's simply fake news. And the alleged source of the rumor, Toronto Today, has spoken out. 

According to USA Today, the publication claims that they are not the source of this misinformation. In fact, they completely denied responsibility while sharing some tea in the process.

They reportedly shared with publication via email that "Netflix and Hastings have faced accusations of distributing child pornography since the release of Cuties," a brand-new drama-comedy tackling the over-sexualization of underage women. However, it was proven to be false.

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And since that revelation, many people on social media have been sounding off on their distaste for the streaming platform and Reed. Unfortunately, their views are unwarranted. 

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The false allegations even led some to demand a boycott against Netflix.

Some took the social media trend as an opportunity to speak out against pedophilia. 

Things got worse, however, when some Twitter users tried to claim that there's a correlation between the supposed personal interests of the Netflix founder and CEO and the release of Cuties.

"Netflix CEO BUSTED with 13,000 files of CHILD PORNOGRAPHY – Daily Headlines So the piece of s--- CEO has been arrested for owning child porn No wonder he allowed the disgusting movie Cuties on Netflix. Isn’t Susan Rice on the board of Netflix? Trashy!!" opined a person.

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"NETFLIX is fueling PEDOPHILIA and displaying CHILD PORN in the movie “CUTIES.” What is wrong with you @netflix?! Take it down immediately, arrest the CEO, and never do such a terrible thing again. You’ve lost all my respect. #CancelNetflx," wrote somebody else. 

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Another person tried to stand up against the wrong Netflix head honcho and made a case against Ted Sarandos — whose name wasn't mentioned in the fake news article. 

netflix ceo arrested
Source: Twitter
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The story was exclusively distributed by fake news websites like Investors Hub and The Donald Win, and social media platforms like Twitter and Reddit. 

Although the whole story is fictitious, it did provide an opportunity for those less familiar with either Cuties or the intricate commissioning processes in place over at Netflix to share their opinions. 

That said, it's time to leave this vicious rumor in the past. While it has been said that rumors tend to stick with you for life, we do hope that Reed and Netflix will ultimately be able to move past it. 

There's nothing worse than being accused of a crime you didn't commit. And hopefully, people on social media can realize that this was just another nasty rumor with no merit.

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