• Social media rumors have falsely claimed Ghislane Maxwell tested positive for COVID-19
  • The false claim appears to have originated from the satire website Brown Valley Observer
  • A photoshopped meme falsely claiming to be from the BBC also claims Maxwell has tested positive for COVID-19
  • The Department of Justice announced on Thursday that Maxwell was arrested for conspiring with Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse minors

An online rumor that Ghislaine Maxwell has COVID-19 has gone viral and spread across social media platforms. The false claim is fueling concerns, conspiracies, and jokes that Maxwell will die by “suicide” before making it to court like the late Jeffrey Epstein.

On Thursday, the Department of Justice announced that Maxwell was arrested and charged with enticing a minor to travel to engage in criminal sexual activity, transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, conspiracy to commit both of those offenses, and perjury in connection with a sworn deposition. Maxwell was said to have “played a critical role in the grooming and abuse of minor victims that took place in locations including New York, Florida, and New Mexico.” Maxwell is facing up to 35 years in prison.

As alleged, Ghislaine Maxwell facilitated, aided, and participated in acts of sexual abuse of minors.  Maxwell enticed minor girls, got them to trust her, and then delivered them into the trap that she and Jeffrey Epstein had set. She pretended to be a woman they could trust.  All the while, she was setting them up to be abused sexually by Epstein and, in some cases, Maxwell herself.  Today, after many years, Ghislaine Maxwell finally stands charged for her role in these crimes.

U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss

By Friday, an article claiming Maxwell tested positive for COVID-19 was already going viral. The “Brown Valley Observer” released an article titled, “Ghislaine Maxwell has tested positive for COVID-19 in New Hampshire jail, DOJ reports.” The article falsely claims the DOJ announced that Maxwell tested positive for COVID-19. “Once she was in custody and began to relax, officials noticed that she was displaying symptoms related to coronavirus including watery eyes, cough, and mucus. She stood to be tested regardless of symptoms while in custody, but her symptoms and the profile of this particular case caused local officials to speed up the testing practice,” the article claimed a fictional DOJ statement read.

The DOJ never released a statement claiming Maxwell has tested positive for COVID-19. Thousands of people blindly shared the article without checking the source of the claim. In the Brown Valley Observer about section, the website admits to being an “entertainment website written to satirize news events, politics, and popular faces and ideas, and to provide commentary on social attitudes and trends.”

This is an entertainment website written to satirize news events, politics, and popular faces and ideas, and to provide commentary on social attitudes and trends.
While familiar names of celebrities and other media figures as well as familiar agencies and organizations are used, all news stories contained within are fictional in nature. Most of the words and actions attributed to these figures are created entirely by the author, who has tiny, feminine hands, and who was once friend-zoned by his own sister.
The purpose of this site is to entertain. Failing that, we’ll settle for “bother” or “annoy”. We’re not a particularly proud publication.
Please do not attempt anything described in any of these articles, except under strict hip-hop supervision.
Similarities between events published here and any actual events involving pretty much anyone would really be a shame.

Via Brown Valley Observer

Along with the satire article, a meme is also circulating on social media claiming to be from the BBC. The meme claims the title of the article was “Ghislane Maxwell moved to intensive care as Coronavirus symptoms worsen.” The alleged first sentence of the “article” reads, “Former socialite and Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell has been moved to intensive care in hospital after her coronavirus symptoms ‘worsened’, the.” Most people have not even noticed the basic grammatical error in “intensive care in hospital.”

Ghislaine Maxwell COVID-19

Feeding into the conspiracy-driven side of things, the article is dated July 11, 2020. The claim is the BBC accidentally posted the article too soon. There are a few problems with the image though. There are no other screenshots of the rest of the alleged article. The article was not posted on the BBC or any of its social media platforms. The picture of Maxwell is missing the normal photo credit found on BBC articles.

According to an article from Heavy, the picture of Maxwell seen in the meme was taken on December 8, 2003, in New York City. Maxwell was attending the opening of the Asprey Flagship Store with an “unidentified male companion.” The image comes from Getty Images, which means Getty receives credit when the image is used. As seen in the two examples below, the BBC credits images in the bottom right corner.

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