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No, Oprah’s jet didn’t land at sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s island and no girls were kidnapped from her ‘school in Africa’

IN SHORT: An outlandish claim circulating on social media links Oprah Winfrey’s private jet, girls kidnapped from “her school in Africa” and dead sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. None of it is true.

“Oprah Winfrey’s private jet was at Epstein’s island 11 different times. What ever happened to all the girls that got kidnapped from her school in Africa?”

This provocative claim is circulating on social media in January 2024. But it’s false on two counts.

There’s zero evidence that US media giant Oprah Winfrey had any association with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who died in 2019. Nor is there proof that her plane ever touched down on his notorious private island in the Caribbean.

And the claim misuses a horrific kidnapping in the northeastern Nigerian town of Chibok almost 10 years ago to smear Winfrey’s elite school in South Africa’s Gauteng province – more than 6,000 kilometres away.

Here’s why the claim, also seen here, here, here, here, here and here, is bogus.

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Epstein’s island

Jeffrey Epstein was a wealthy US businessperson convicted of sexual abuse of a child in 2008. He served a 13-month sentence. In 2019, Epstein was arrested for child sex trafficking. He died in jail while awaiting trial.

In 2022, Epstein’s friend Ghislaine Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years in prison for sex trafficking. She was found to have helped find girls for Epstein to abuse.

Epstein owned the island of Little St James in the US Virgin Islands, a territory in the Caribbean Sea

Epstein’s island”, as it has come to be known, was reportedly a place where girls were sexually abused by Epstein and his friends.

Winfrey not mentioned in documents

In January 2024, a US court released many legal documents related to Epstein and Maxwell. They include the names of Epstein’s friends and associates. But being mentioned in these documents doesn’t mean a person did anything wrong. 

However, the documents don’t include the name Oprah Winfrey. And there have been no credible news reports linking Winfrey to the sex offender.

More than this, aerial and satellite views of Little St James show that the island doesn’t have an airstrip. Winfrey’s private jet wouldn’t have been able to land “at Epstein’s island 11 different times”, let alone once.

‘Chibok girls’ kidnapped in 2014

The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls is in Meyerton near Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city. It’s Winfrey’s one and only “school in Africa”. And no student has been kidnapped from there.

In August 2023 Africa Check debunked a claim that the 276 girls kidnapped from a high school in Chibok, a town in the northeastern Nigerian state of Borno, by Boko Haram militants in April 2014 were in fact taken from Winfrey’s school.

This is false, as is the rest of the claim.

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