One of the investors for the film “Sound of Freedom,” which depicts a vigilante fighting child sex trafficking, has been charged with accessory to child kidnapping, according to police. Fabian Marta was arrested by the St Louis Metropolitan Police on 23 July and charged as an accessory to child kidnapping. He was later released on a $15,000 bond. Marta is listed as one of the investors in the film, “Sound of Freedom,” which was released in theaters. The court documents do not provide many details about the incident, only stating that it took place on 21 July. Marta’s attorney denies the charges and says that his client had nothing to do with custodial kidnapping.
This arrest adds another layer of controversy to the already contentious film. While the movie addresses the issue of child sex trafficking, it has faced criticism for its portrayal of the central protagonist, Tim Ballard, a former Homeland Security agent who rescues enslaved children. Critics argue that the film misrepresents the reality of anti-child sex trafficking work and the nature of the crime itself. Operation Underground Railroad, the group founded by Ballard, confirmed these allegations in a FAQ about the film.
The film has also become a target for conspiratorial claims. Some individuals on the far-right have spun narratives about child sex trafficking to attack political opponents and spread misinformation about various groups. The pizzagate conspiracy theory, which alleged a child sex trafficking ring operating in a pizza restaurant, led to an armed invasion of Comet Ping Pong Pizza in Washington DC. Conspiracy theorists also accused Wayfair, a home decor company, of trafficking children. Additionally, QAnon adherents have spread baseless allegations about the Democratic party engaging in child sex trafficking. These unfounded claims have further fueled controversy surrounding the film.
Jim Caviezel, the actor who plays Tim Ballard in the movie, has previously expressed his belief in conspiracies involving human traffickers harvesting children’s adrenal glands. However, the reality is that the majority of child sex trafficking occurs due to abuse by adult family members. The type of trafficking depicted in the film is an outlier, not the norm. Law enforcement agencies and organizations like the International Justice Mission primarily focus on combating the more prevalent forms of trafficking.
The film has also garnered attention for right-wing conspiracy theories related to its box office performance. Viewers recorded themselves in largely empty theaters, claiming that their ideological enemies were trying to prevent people from seeing the movie. However, many showings of the film have been prepaid by supporters of the movie, artificially boosting its box office earnings. Over 10 million tickets to the film have been purchased through the app Pay It Forward, with approximately 20% of ticket sales coming from people “paying it forward” on the app.
In conclusion, the investor in the film “Sound of Freedom” who was charged with accessory to child kidnapping has added another layer of controversy to an already contentious project. The film has faced criticism for its portrayal of child sex trafficking and has become the subject of conspiracy theories. However, it is important to distinguish the reality of trafficking from the sensationalized depictions in the movie.