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Hoax Alert

Fake News: 'To Catch a Predator' Host Chris Hansen NOT Arrested After Meeting Up With 13 Year-Old Girl

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Thu, 17 Jan 2019 10:31:20 Z)

Was Chris Hansen (host of "To catch a predador") arrested for illegally meeting up with a 13-year-old girl? No, that's not true: the story was briefly published by a "fauxtire" website but it is not real. The story was probably taken down because calling someone a pedophile (even in jest or as satire) could lead to various legal threats and costly litigation.

The story originated from an article (now removed) published by Huzlers on January 17, 2019 titled "'To Catch a Predator' Host Chris Hansen Arrested After Meeting Up With 13 Year-Old Girl" which opened:

LOS ANGELES - "To catch a predator" host Chris Hansen was arrested tuesday for allegedly meeting up with a 13 year old girl. According to Hansen, he was only trying to "teach" the 13 year old a lesson to not talk and meet to grown men online. Chris Hansen was arrested on criminal charges for ...

Screenshot of http://www.huzlers.com/to-catch-a-predator-host-chris-hansen-arrested-after-meeting-up-with-13-year-old-girl/

Users on social media only saw this title ad description along with (presumably) a thumbnail:

'To Catch a Predator' Host Chris Hansen Arrested After Meeting Up With 13 Year-Old Girl

LOS ANGELES - "To catch a predator" host Chris Hansen was arrested tuesday for allegedly meeting up with a 13 year old girl. According to Hansen, he was only trying to "teach" the 13 year old a lesson to not talk and meet to grown men online. Chris Hansen was arrested on criminal charges for ...

The story only remained online for a few hours but managed to rack up over 10,000 engagements on Facebook during that time. Traces of the existence of the article can still be seen in the archived Google search results for the link here.

Hansen was indeed arrested but it was over bounced checks:

'To Catch a Predator' host Chris Hansen arrested over bounced checks

"To Catch a Predator" host Chris Hansen was arrested Monday after he allegedly wrote bad checks to a vendor he owed money to, according to police. Hansen turned himself into the Stamford Police Department in Connecticut after a warrant was issued for his arrest on a felony charge of issuing a bad check, Stamford Sgt.

Huzlers styles itself as a "fauxtire" website and carries a disclaimer at the bottom of each page:

Huzlers.com is the most infamous fauxtire & satire entertainment website in the world. If it's trending on social media you'll find it here!

According to Splinter News the site is run by Pablo Reyes and David Martinez and according to Buzzfeed Reyes is involved with several other fake news websites. They tend to shy away from political stories, opting instead to write for a more "urban" audience, with stories about rappers, criminals and celebrities.

NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalist to rank the reliability of websites, describes huzlers.com as:

A self-described satire website that publishes false stories on urban culture and celebrities that have often been mistaken for real news.

According to NewsGuard the site does not maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability. Read their full assessment here.

We wrote about huzlers.com before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

About Lead Stories

Lead Stories uses the Trendolizer™ engine to detect the most trending stories from known fake news, satire and prank websites and tries to debunk them as fast as possible. Read more about how we work and how we select stories to check here.

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