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The singer Beyoncé was among 38 defendants named in a 2020 lawsuit by a woman alleging they were part of a criminal enterprise engaged in decades of abuse, including sex trafficking and torture.
The lawsuit was dismissed a month after it was filed as "frivolous" by a judge, who wrote that the claims within "rise to the level of the irrational."
We can find no credible evidence that Beyoncé is a defendant in a human trafficking case or has been credibly accused.
The movie "Sound of Freedom" has raised social media chatter about human trafficking. It also seems to have revived old, baseless claims about celebrities’ role in the crime.
A woman in a July 23 Facebook reel said it’s a good thing that the movie "Sound of Freedom" has raised awareness about child sex trafficking. Sticker text on the video reads, "The Sound of Freedom, Balenciaga, Beyoncé & child trafficking."
She then asks, "Why is Beyoncé out on tour if she is a defendant in a major human trafficking case, that include allegations like kidnapping, torture, rape, all kinds of stuff … murder?"
The video was originally shared on TikTok by the woman seen in the video, who said July 25 in another TikTok video that her first video was flagged as hate speech. Her original video about Beyoncé is no longer on that user’s TikTok timeline, but we found others sharing it on TikTok and elsewhere.
This post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)
In the Facebook video, the woman alleges Beyoncé is "with Jeffrey Epstein, Harvey Weinstein — they’re all in the same document," she said, also mentioning Jay-Z, Kanye West and The Walt Disney Co.
She didn’t specify what document she was citing, but it’s likely a reference to a civil lawsuit filed in federal court in August 2020. That lawsuit included 38 defendants, including Beyoncé Knowles, Jay-Z (under his real name, Shawn Carter), West, Weinstein, Disney and the 1953 Trust, a trust fund Epstein created.
In 2021, PolitiFact rated as False a claim that Beyoncé and Kanye West were listed as co-defendants in the criminal trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, conflating the lawsuit with the Maxwell trial. Maxwell was found guilty for sex trafficking young girls for Epstein and in September 2022 was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
The lawsuit accused all the defendants of establishing a "sociopathic criminal enterprise" in which they "engaged in decades of human trafficking, sexual assaults and various abuses," among numerous allegations. It sought $500 million in damages.
However, the lawsuit was dismissed as "frivolous" by U.S. District Judge Louis L. Stanton for the Southern District of New York on Sept. 18, 2020. The judge wrote that the plaintiff had no authority to file a claim on behalf of others, and that her "claims rise to the level of the irrational, and there is no legal theory on which she can rely."
Beyoncé is in the midst of her Renaissance World Tour, which began in May and continues through October. Surely an explosive charge that she is a defendant in a human trafficking case would garner heavy news coverage, yet we found none.
The claim that Beyoncé is a defendant in a human trafficking case, along with other celebrities, dates to a 2020 lawsuit that was dismissed as "frivolous" a month after it was filed. We rate it False.
TikTok video, July 25, 2023
Casetext, Latham v. 1953 Tr., Sept. 18, 2020
United States Southern District of New York, Case 1:20-cv-07102-LLS, Aug. 21, 2020
PolitiFact, No, Beyonce and Kanye West aren’t Ghislaine Maxwell’s co-defendants in her human trafficking trial, Dec. 9, 2021
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