Get PolitiFact in your inbox.

Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke August 7, 2020

Photo of Ellen DeGeneres and her niece on vacation doesn't support sex trafficking theory

If Your Time is short

  • This photo shows Ellen DeGeneres with her niece on vacation. 

Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres has become a frequent target of child sex-trafficking conspiracy theories. We’ve previously debunked claims connecting her to such crimes, including one that she is on house arrest. Now an image of the celebrity comedian is being shared on social media with the suggestion that it supports these unfounded claims. 

"Ellen you are going down," reads the text above a photo of her hugging a child. One post sharing the image says: "Now I know Ellen don’t got kids. The boat looks nice tho. Epstein island I suppose."

It uses the hashtag #PizzaGate, a reference to the false conspiracy theory that a Washington D.C. pizzeria was the front for a child sex-trafficking ring.

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) 

DeGeneres’ wife, the actress Portia de Rossi, posted the photo on Instagram on Jan. 3, 2016, when they were on vacation in Saint Barthelemy, celebrating New Year’s Eve on DeGeneres’ yacht. The caption says: "Eva does Ed’s hair #stbarths."

Featured Fact-check

Ed is de Rossi’s nickname for DeGeneres, who is wearing a pink bow in the picture. Eva is the couple’s niece. In a 2015 episode of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," DeGeneres played a clip of Eva and their other niece Perry singing while riding in the car. 

Other photos de Rossi posted from the trip show the couple smiling for a selfie and DeGeneres riding on a watercraft with her mother

What these photos don’t prove: that DeGeneres is connected to a baseless conspiracy theory about child sex-trafficking, or that she was on the island of the late financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. 

We rate this post Pants on Fire.


Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Ciara O'Rourke

Photo of Ellen DeGeneres and her niece on vacation doesn't support sex trafficking theory

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up