An article saying Oprah Winfrey posted bail for Jeremy Meeks, a California man whose mugshot went viral, is fake.
Empire News, which published the bogus article, is a self-described “satire” website.
The disclaimer for the site says as much.
“Empire News is a satirical and entertainment website. We only use invented names in all our stories, except in cases when public figures are being satirized. Any other use of real names is accidental and coincidental,” it reads.
The author for the fake report has a bio which reads, “I was a member of the first graduating class at Harvard University in 1642. I was cryogenically frozen and brought back to life in 1981. I can speak gibberish in 18 different languages and often carry on conversations with myself in all 18”–another telltale sign it’s just a prank.
The article had tens of thousands of shares and “likes” on Facebook.
“The internet was abuzz this past week when a mug shot of accused arms dealer Jeremy Meeks hit the web, making women swoon and men jealous over his movie-star good looks,” the fake report says. “Apparently all the attention Meeks has gotten since being arrested has only helped him, as billionaire actress and media mogul Oprah Winfrey has reportedly agreed to pay Meeks’ $900,000 bail, with the intent of giving him a job as a talk show host on her OWN Network.”
AP: Arrestee’s ‘handsome’ mug shot goes viral
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A handsome mug shot of a Northern California man arrested on felony weapons charges has gone viral on social media, attracting more than 33,000 “likes” and drawing comments praising his high cheek bones, chiseled face and striking blue eyes.
Jeremy Meeks, 30, a convicted felon, was arrested Wednesday on five weapons charges and one gang charge, according to Officer Joseph Silva, a spokesman for the Stockton Police Department.
Silva declined to say what Meeks was previously convicted of, saying the department does not routinely release information about a suspect’s criminal history.
No previous arrest photo has garnered so much positive attention since the department set up the Facebook page in March 2012, Silva told The Associated Press.
“I have not seen that many likes for a photo before,” he said.
By late Thursday, Meeks’ arrest photo had garnered more than 33,000 “likes,” and 10,400 comments, and had been shared more than 3,300 times. Other postings on the site generally receive hundreds of “likes.”
Meeks was one of four men taken into custody during Operation Ceasefire, a multiagency mission to curb a recent increase in shootings and robberies in the Weston Ranch area of Stockton, a Northern California city of about 300,000 nestled amid the network of waterways that form the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.
Four firearms were confiscated during a sweep Wednesday involving the Stockton police gang unit, the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Task Force and other agencies.
Silva called Meeks “one of the most violent criminals in the Stockton area,” though he declined to provide any details on the crimes that Meeks is believed to have been involved in.
Meeks, who is being held in lieu of $900,000 bail, is scheduled to be arraigned Friday afternoon.
Silva did not know whether he had retained a lawyer.