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Sicilian theater is not the home of child sacrifice

CLAIM: A video shows a hidden entrance to a theater in Sicily where children are sacrificed by “elites”.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The theater in the video is Teatro Donnafugata, a castle venue in Ragusa, Sicily that hosts musical performances and plays. the original recordings was posted in 2021 by an Italian quick-change artist and makes no mention of child sacrifice. The hidden entrance to the theater shown in the video will be used to access its central box seats, Teatro Donnafugata said in a statement to The Associated Press.

THE FACTS: A video of the theater’s hidden entrance has gone viral on social media, with false claims that it’s being used for sinister purposes.

The footage shows a woman opening a door disguised as part of a wall and a panel hidden in the floor to reveal a staircase leading to a private box in a small theatre. “Bend Over,” a 2016 song by rapper BoB that has the lyrics “Celebrities and Politicians / Just to name a few members / Rituals and Pedophilia,” plays in the background. Emojis of children and drops of blood appear over the footage.

The text above the footage reads, “Here elites sacrifice children.” An Instagram with the video had received more than 20,000 likes on Tuesday

But the theater and its hidden entrance are used for no such thing.

Teatro Donnafugata is installed inside Castle of Donnafugatathe former home of an Italian noble family bought by Vincenzo Arezzo, then Baron of Serri, in 1648. The theater date back to until the first half of the 19th century Restoration 1997 and 2004. One of the smallest theaters in Europe, seating 100, it now hosts musical performances and plays, including shows for children.

Arturo Brachetti, an Italian quick-change artist, posted the original video in 2021, with the dialogue not present in the version currently in circulation. “Where are you taking us today?” asks a man behind the camera in Italian. “Look,” replies the woman in the video. After entering the theater, the man exclaims, “Oh my God, that’s not possible. There is a theater here. An Italian theater, wonderful, under a villa. Fantastic.”

Brachetti too sent a longer video a few days later in which he explains in Italian where the theater is and how he imagines the former owner of the Castello di Donnafugata could have used it to greet guests at dinner with an invitation to the opera to surprise.

In a statement to AP, Teatro Donnafugata confirmed that its venue is the one shown in the video. The theater explained that the hidden entrance is for access to the theatre’s central boxes and that there is also an external entrance on a public road from which guests can enter the performance space.

“The video is from the Teatro Donnafugata, it’s a video made by a famous artist who visits the theater and then published on his social channels to speak well about the theater, but then the video became someone’s stolen and distributed with this, of course, false information. “, reads the statement, originally written in Italian. “It’s a normal theater, always open to the public, where shows and concerts take place, also with famous Italian artists.”

NOT CORRECT Expectations about elites abusing children are part of a commonality misinformation narrative that has distribution in various forms for decades.


This is part of AP’s efforts to address widespread misinformation, including working with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content circulating online. Learn more about fact checking at AP.


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