Report: Funder Of Right-Wing Anti-Trafficking Film Busted In Child Abduction

@johnknefel
Report: Funder Of Right-Wing Anti-Trafficking Film Busted In Child Abduction

Fabian Marta

One of the funders behind Sound of Freedom, an anti-trafficking film that was widely embraced by right-wing media this summer, was arrested in July on felony child kidnapping charges, according to Newsweek and a Missouri court website.

Fabian Marta appears to have referred to himself as an “angel investor” in the film, according to a screenshot of a since-deleted Facebook post. (Media Matters has not independently verified the Facebook post.)

Newsweek reported:

Fabian Marta was charged with felony child kidnapping in July, while since-removed Facebook posts appear to show the same person revealing their pride in funding the film. Marta's name appears in the movie's credits among the "investors [who] helped bring Sound of Freedom to theaters."

St. Louis Metropolitan Police confirmed to Newsweek that Marta, 51, from Chesterfield, Missouri, was charged on July 21, and was arrested on July 23.

Police also provided a booking photo of Marta, which appears to show the same person pictured on a Facebook account of the same name. Screenshots of since-removed posts from multiple online sources, seen by Newsweek but which could not be independently verified, show Marta speaking about his involvement with the film.

Sound of Freedom stars Jim Caviezel, who pushed several QAnon conspiracy theories while promoting the film earlier this summer. Caviezel claimed that centralized cabals of pedophiles were torturing trafficked children to extract adrenochrome from them — what’s known in QAnon jargon as the “adrenochrome empire.” He additionally said Ukrainian biolabs were involved in the conspiracy and that the CIA and FBI were implicated in a cover-up.

Marta’s arrest isn’t the only controversy surrounding the film, which is based on the life of Operation Underground Railroad founder Tim Ballard. Ballard has long claimed that his organization saves children from trafficking rings, but critics allege that most of OUR’s work has been in service of glorifying Ballard and building his brand.

Following the film’s release, Ballard and OUR parted ways “after an internal investigation into claims made against him by multiple employees,” according to Vice News. Ballard was later removed as CEO of The Nazarene Fund, an anti-trafficking group funded by Glenn Beck. He had previously been ousted from the same position in 2021.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

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