Tim Ballard, the real-life founder and onetime CEO of Operation Underground Railroad who is portrayed by Jim Caviezel in the indie hit Sound of Freedom, was the subject of sexual misconduct allegations and a related investigation involving seven women, according to a story published by Vice.
Operation Underground Railroad is an organization, founded in 2013, whose mission is to combat child sex trafficking.
In a statement to Vice, the organization reportedly confirmed that Ballard “resigned from O.U.R. on June 22, 2023,” and that “he has permanently separated from O.U.R.”
Further, said the statement, “O.U.R. is dedicated to combatting sexual abuse, and does not tolerate sexual harassment or discrimination by anyone in its organization.”
The group stated it “retained an independent law firm to conduct a comprehensive investigation of all relevant allegations,” but would make no further comment “to preserve the integrity of its investigation and to protect the privacy of all persons involved.”
As of mid-August, the anti-child trafficking movie had passed $174M at the box office, due largely in part to a support from right-wing groups and 6,678 grassroots supporters who invested in the project. By mid-August, it had made more than Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny ($172.9M) and Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning – Part One‘s ($160.8M) domestic box office.
Ballard’s connection to the film is unclear. While he inspired it, he is not credited as a writer or producer. He did, however, attend red carpet events for the film in late June and August.
Deadline has reached out to Angel Studios, which was behind the film, for comment and will add one if received.