Experts who actually work with trafficking victims have been vocally criticizing Sound of Freedom for weeks now.
The sleeper hit at the box office gives a very Hollywood version of saving children from traffickers. You know, a lone badass has to do it all himself, charging in with guns blazing like it’s a bad ’80s movie. But according to folks who have been familiar with the exploits of the IRL guy the movie is based on, it’s not so much that Hollywood took the real thing and twisted it. It’s that he has been highly suspect for years.
That man is Tim Ballard, and he parted ways with his own Operation Underground Railroad earlier this year, right after the movie about it became a smash success. One might assume it was so he could focus on his upcoming run for Senate. But according to a bombshell Vice exposé on Monday, the real reason he quietly exited the OUR is because of an investigation into sexual misconduct accusations!
Related: Sound Of Freedom Investor Arrested For Kidnapping After Years Of ‘Sugar Baby’ Parties
Yes, the outlet discovered seven women made claims against Ballard, who is played in the film by the very differently controversial Jim Caviezel. And the claims are truly shocking. According to these women, Ballard used the prospect of saving children from traffickers to trick them into having sex with him! Yes, really! How?
They say he would recruit women to pose as his “wife” on undercover missions to other countries where he was supposedly surveilling trafficking operations. To throw them off the scent, he wanted to look like a couple traveling on vacation. But the thing is, once he had these women alone, they claim, he coerced them into sexual situations, like sharing a bed or taking a shower together. He told them it was to help fool the traffickers. He even reportedly asked one woman “how far she was willing to go” to save children.
Um, did we say the Hollywood version was unbelievable?!
It’s believed there are more than seven women, but that’s how many OUR employees came forward for that particular investigation. A former volunteer — who was not part of the investigation — told Vice he tried this act on her, too. And another source referred to a second volunteer. But ultimately we’ll probably never know how many women he used his fake child-saving routine to sleep with.
If this is true, it really sounds like the whole thing wasn’t just a grift to make himself look virtuous and heroic (and sell the film rights) — it was also to bring women to another country and trick them into sex! If only there were a hot-button term for that kind of behavior…
The investigation was confirmed by OUR, who released this statement to Vice:
“Tim Ballard resigned from O.U.R. on June 22, 2023. He has permanently separated from O.U.R.
O.U.R. is dedicated to combatting sexual abuse, and does not tolerate sexual harassment or discrimination by anyone in its organization.
O.U.R. retained an independent law firm to conduct a comprehensive investigation of all relevant allegations, and O.U.R. continues to assess and improve the governance of the organization and protocols for its operations.
To preserve the integrity of its investigation and to protect the privacy of all persons involved, O.U.R. will not make any further public comment at this time.
O.U.R. is confident in its future as the leading organization committed to combatting sex trafficking and saving children who have been captured and sold into slavery.”
This report follows an anonymous letter which had been circulating in anti-trafficking charities in Utah for months. That letter, confirmed by Vice‘s source, read:
“Several weeks ago, an OUR employee who accompanied Tim on an undercover operation filed a sexual harassment complaint against him with OUR’s HR department. This resulted in an extensive internal investigation into Tim and his individual operational tactics and led to more women speaking up as part of the investigation process.
It was ultimately revealed through disturbingly specific and parallel accounts, that Tim has been deceitfully and extensively grooming and manipulating multiple women for the past few years with the ultimate intent of coercing them to participate in sexual acts with him, under the premise of going where it takes and doing ‘whatever it takes’ to save a child.”
“Grooming and manipulating,” The actual kind of grooming, not just, you know, being gay. The author of the letter remains anonymous to this day.
Perhaps this person who originally leaked the info was one of the victims. Maybe they grew concerned about Ballard’s reputation growing because of the film. Maybe they were — rightfully — worried guys would see the movie and sign up to help with Ballard’s falsified image in their minds. That has been happening, unfortunately. They’re even fighting with the experts because they saw ONE MOVIE ONE TIME.
Ballard himself has now responded to the allegations, saying in a statement obtained by People:
“As with all of the assaults on my character and integrity over many years, the latest tabloid-driven sexual allegations are false. They are baseless inventions designed to destroy me and the movement we have built to end the trafficking and exploitation of vulnerable children.”
Right. It’s all a big conspiracy, and all the women are lying because they think trafficking is great, and they’re trying to stop the one man who can actually fix it. Give us a break.
[Image via FayesVision/WENN/Angel Studios/YouTube.]