Wayfair stock declined on Friday after allegations that the company was selling pricey furniture on its website for the purpose of sex trafficking. The shares are up by less than 1% today after the company denied the allegations on Friday.
Wayfair stock hit by sex trafficking allegation
The sex trafficking allegation against Wayfair came from a Reddit user who speculated that expensive cabinets with product names that are human names are a front for human trafficking. The Reddit user posted a screenshot of storage cabinets with five-figure price tags and human names like Neriah, Yaritza, Samiyah and Alyvia. The cabinets are priced between $12,699.00 and $14,499.99.
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The person questioned whether the cabinets were actually people who were for sale or if they were "extremely overpriced cabinets." The Reddit post was on a thread focused on conspiracy theories, which makes it strange that Wayfair stock would have any reaction to it at all. The conspiracy theory thread often includes accusations with little or no proof.
Newsweek reports that people who believe the conspiracy theory about Wayfair and sex trafficking tell others to use a Russian search engine to search for the SKU number that matches certain Wayfair products. Supposedly, the searches return image results showing children in bathing suits. Newsweek adds that none of those SKU searches actually return images of any children.
The news outlet spoke to Redditor PrincessPeach1987 via chat, although they declined to reveal their non-Redditor identity. The person described themselves as someone who is "involved in a local organization that helps victims of human trafficking." They also said that their work has caused them to be "suspicious most of the time now." The person characterized their post on Reddit as less of an accusation and more of an attempt to find out if "anyone else had more details."
Wayfair denies the allegations
A spokesperson for Wayfair told Fox Business in an email on Friday that there was no truth to the sex trafficking claims. She said the products in question are accurately priced industrial-grade cabinets.
The company also said it is removing the items in question temporarily to rename them and provide a more "in-depth description and photos that accurately depict the product to clarify the price point."
Wayfair stock seems to have recovered from the conspiracy driven pullback, although talk about the sex trafficking allegations has continued on social media.