(NewsReady.com) – On July 4, the film “Sound of Freedom” hit theaters. It has made more than $180 million since its release, becoming a smash hit. The man at the center of the film is now facing misconduct accusations.
The “Sound of Freedom” is based on the life of Tim Ballard, an anti-human trafficking activist. While the film is reportedly heavily editorialized, there is some truth to it. Ballard was president of Operation Underground Railroad, an anti-trafficking organization that has allegedly saved thousands of human smuggling victims.
VICE News recently published a report alleging Ballard left the organization after an investigation into sexual misconduct claims made by seven women. Ballard is accused of asking women to act like his spouses on undercover missions overseas to rescue sex trafficking victims. The women claim he coerced them into showering and sharing a bed with him, telling them it was necessary to keep their cover.
Sources reportedly told VICE News that Ballard sent at least one woman a photo of himself in underwear, asking her “how far she was willing to go” to save children. Operation Underground Railroad released a statement stating Ballard was “permanently separated” from the organization. It went on to say the non-profit “is dedicated to combating sexual abuse” and has a zero-tolerance policy regarding “sexual harassment or discrimination by anyone in its organization.”
Ballard has denied the allegations, calling them “tabloid-driven.” He said sexual contact during his missions was prohibited.
Ballard isn’t the only person involved in “Sound of Freedom” to face sexual misconduct allegations. Paul Hutchinson, an executive producer of the film, was accused of touching the naked breasts of an underage trafficking victim in a 2016 operation. The incident was reportedly caught on video.
In an email to VICE, Hutchinson didn’t deny what happened but said the woman in question was over 18 years old. He said he swore to that fact in an affidavit to the Mexican federal police, but was unable to provide the documentation.
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