Reed Hastings was not arrested on September 12 on child porn charges. A fake news article from a site called Toronto Today has spread on social media alleging that Hastings, 59, was arrested in Los Gatos, California.
The fake article said that Hastings was arrested at his home in Los Gatos after investigators allegedly found 13,000 files of child pornography. The article said that Hastings was facing 11 charges in relation to the find. According to Toronto Today, Hastings is considered to be a “computer genius.” The article claimed Toronto Today had reached out to Hastings and his lawyers for comment but that they had not responded. Heavy has reached out to Netflix for comment on the story.
The piece accuses Hastings of being in possession of files that included a “compilation video of prepubescent girls under 8, some as young as toddlers, being raped.” The article ends with allegations that a “clandestine drug lab” was found in Hastings’ basement. The details of Hastings alleged arrest, are identical to the actual arrest of Utah businessman Douglas Saltsman in May 2019.
Hastings is an internationally renowned tech CEO. If he was arrested on such serious charges, it would be widely reported by local, national and international news outlets. There has been no statement from the FBI on any child pornography arrests on September 12.
Toronto Today ‘Tells You What Biased, Corporate Media Won’t’
Toronto Today is described on its homepage as a website that “tells you what biased, corporate media won’t.” The description goes on to say, “Working class, Indigenous, and African-Canadian people are underserved by the media. Let’s change that. Those in positions of authority and those that work in the mainstream media need to stop lying. Until then, you have Toronto Today.”
The website was founded and is run by Toronto-based Mark Slapinski. Heavy has reached out to Slapinski for comment.
The Fake Story Emerged at the Same Time Netflix Has Been Accused of Promoting Child Pornography With the Release of the Movie Cuties
Deadline reported on September 12 that Senator Ted Cruz had joined calls for the Department of Justice to investigate “investigate whether Netflix, its executives or the filmmakers violated any federal laws against the production and distribution of child pornography.” The allegation of child pornography is related to the fictional French movie, Cuties.
Cuties is a critically acclaimed French coming-of-age drama. Deadline describes the film as taking “aim at society’s sexualization of girls, through an ensemble of 11-year-old girls.” Earlier in September 2020, Cuties director Maimouna Doucoure told Deadline that she received death threats following the release of the film.
The Daily Dot’s Michelle Jaworski wrote on September 11 the outrage over Cuties was in part fuelled by the spreading of out-of-context clips on social media. In a statement to Variety on the controversy, a Netflix spokesperson said, “Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children. It’s an award-winning film and a powerful story about the pressure young girls face on social media and from society more generally growing up – and we’d encourage anyone who cares about these important issues to watch the movie.”
At the same time that the outrage over Cuties, Hastings appeared on CNN to promote his new book No Rules, Rules. On the same day, The Guardian reported that the hashtag “CancelNetflix” was tweeted over 200,000 times.