Mel Gibson has provided “valuable intelligence” regarding children thought to be vulnerable to child traffickers in Ukraine, according to the founder of anti-sex-trafficking charity Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.).
Gibson has been a trending topic on social media over the past few days, amid claims that he was making a docuseries exposing a multi-billion dollar global child sex-trafficking market.
On Tuesday, the Twitter page Leading Report tweeted what it claimed to be breaking news, writing that the star was “allegedly making a 4-part docuseries on the $34 billion global child sex-trafficking market involving countries like Ukraine.” The tweet has been viewed more than 11 million times with tens of thousands of people liking, commenting and retweeting the news.
The site wasn’t the only one to make the claim, with social media influencer Matt Wallace also sharing an “inside scoop” with his 1 million Twitter followers. Repeating Leading Report‘s statement, Wallace said: “It’s time to expose the truth.”
Despite the founder of O.U.R., Tim Ballard, suggesting in January 2023 that Gibson was involved in his upcoming four-part docuseries, the screen star’s representative told Newsweek that none of the reports are accurate.
At the time the claims were going viral, journalist Katherine Brodsky questioned the validity of Leading Report’s information, suggesting that they had no source for their purported “breaking news.”
Returning to Twitter on Thursday, Brodsky wrote: “Just as I have suspected, the story about Mel Gibson producing a four-part doc series about child sex trafficking was FALSE & was being intentionally spread on social media and beyond, without ANY sourcing. A blatant example of how fake information quickly goes viral when no one checks the original source.”
Brodsky then shared a statement from O.U.R. founder Ballard that she said she had received via email.
Just as I have suspected, the story about Mel Gibson producing a four-part doc series about child sex trafficking was FALSE & was being intentionally spread on social media and beyond, without ANY sourcing. A blatant example of how fake information quickly goes viral when no one…— 🚨 Katherine Brodsky (@mysteriouskat) June 8, 2023
“I stand by every word I said in the video circulating around social media,” read the quotes attributed to Ballard. “Mel is a personal hero of mine and called me back in 2022 with valuable intelligence regarding children who were rumored to be vulnerable to human traffickers in Ukraine.
“Using that intelligence, we went to Ukraine, where Operation Underground Railroad, Aerial Recovery Group, and The Nazarene Fund were successful in beginning the process of dismantling a dangerous international pedophile ring.
“Mel deserves all the credit for taking the initiative to further the critical work that we do,” the statement continued. “I am personally grateful for his support as we worked on this documentary, however reports this four-part series is actually being produced by Mr. Gibson are not accurate. It’s being produced by Nick Nanton of DNA Films and includes several executive producers such as Kyle Cease, Tony and Sage Robbins, and other wonderful and talented people.”
When contacted by Newsweek, a spokesperson for Gibson declined to comment.
Former CIA member Ballard spoke at a conference in Utah in January 2023 and detailed his relationship with Gibson, revealing the actor’s passion for his charity.
Though he’s not credited on IMDb, Ballard claims Gibson did the final edit for his movie Sound of Freedom. Through this relationship, Ballard claims Gibson rang him at the start of the war in Ukraine in 2022, and asked him to help rescue children from the country.
“I told Mel, ‘You gotta help me. This is gonna be expensive. I won’t ask you for direct donation but can you help me film this? Let’s film what’s happening so we can get people to understand and they can support us,'” Ballard said onstage in Utah, confirming that Gibson had agreed to help him.
“Four months later, what I thought was going to be maybe a documentary about Ukraine, ends up being a four-part docuseries, that’s almost done,” Ballard said.
He went on to reveal that Ukrainians gave him over 10,000 names of children who’d been displaced by the war with Russia.
“I know that human trafficking is a $32 billion-a-year business. It’s the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world,” Ballard said.
According to former Republican nominee for Arizona governor Kari Lake, making a docuseries about preventing child sex trafficking would be something in keeping with Gibson’s motives.
“We talked about the tragedy at our border and the horrific child trafficking that’s happening the day this photo was taken,” Lake wrote, sharing a picture of herself with Gibson as she responded to Leading Report’s viral post. “Mel Gibson’s heart and soul are in the right place. We are praying for you and rooting for you. God bless you Mel!”
Gibson—who over the years has been accused of making racist, antisemitic and sexist comments—was previously accused of making extreme claims about Hollywood’s elite. Quotes attributed to Gibson read: “Worldwide, children are stolen and sold to pedophile rings. They’re tortured, raped, and murdered as part of satanic ritual ceremonies. The murderers then drink the children’s blood and they eat their flesh.”
The quotes went viral in March, but a Newsweek fact check found them to be false. Gibson’s spokesperson denied claims he’d ever made such comments.