Where I worked in my last job, I had a co-worker who, ironically, hated the word ‘hate’. If I were talking about food, malfunctioning copiers or my neighbor’s drum set at 11pm, I would get a literal smack to the shoulder if I used ‘hate’ in a sentence. “It’s not your favorite thing,” she would say, “Hate’s a strong word.”
Fair enough, I thought at the time. So now it’s been conditioned in my brain to use more politically correct terminology, so I will say this: Oprah Winfrey is not my favorite person. (Are you happy Sandra?)
Admittedly, I am not Oprah’s key demographic. Male, mid-20s, self-professed hipster-geek, I’m hardly what she and her channel OWN targets. But recently, I watched this clip of musician Pharrell Williams on OWN, being interviewed by Oprah.
Watch the vid, it’s under 3 minutes and pay attention at 1 minute and 28 seconds.
Watched it? What did you take away other than the fact that Pharrell is an amazing, thankful, humble human being? How about the fact that Oprah robotically and methodically attempted to get the man to cry harder? “It makes me cry too!” she laughs and clearly doesn’t have a tear anywhere near her eyes. At 1:35 she states, “You know, I was just thinking about your grandmother…” Really Oprah? The man is having a moment, let’s casually bring up his grandma with zero emotion. On a second viewing, she’s sounds so scripted throughout the entire interview, it’s completely uncomfortable.
Cut her some slack! I can hear Sandra saying. She’s probably desensitized to hearing sob stories over the span of 20+ years. Okay, fair enough, Sandra, but let’s talk about other tidbits about Oprah that aren’t my favorite things.
1. Oprah’s magazine, O. Oprah has been the cover girl on every single issue of O since it’s debut in 2000. Well, she can obviously, since it’s her own magazine. But when she finally did share cover space with Michelle Obama, and Ellen DeGeneres, her publicity team pushed out how generous Oprah was by sharing the space. Two times in 14 years. It was spun around like a top newsworthy event. Egotistical much?
2. She promoted Jenny McCarthy’s anti-vaccine movement. The anti-vaccine celebrity was treated like an expert when she took Oprah’s stage 7 years ago, fueling a dangerous anti-vaccine conspiracy that is completely made up. The doctor who published the medical journal made up his figures, hoped to profit from the panic, and now has had his medical license revoked in court. And yet, a C-level celebrity with zero medical knowledge was given access to promote something dangerous, saying it caused her son to become autistic. Oh, and Jenny’s son probably never even had autism. There’s even a website devoted to calculating how many children have died because of McCarthy’s promoted statements.
3. She created Dr. Phil. Enough said.
4. She used the race card because a boutique wouldn’t let her shop after hours. Back in 2005, Oprah went to Paris Hermes after the store had already closed and wanted to be let in to shop. The staff reported that they knew who she was, but they were setting up for a scheduled private event. When denied, Oprah proclaimed it her “Crash” moment (the movie about not-so-subtle racism) and her best friend Gayle King said it was one of the most “humiliating moments of [Oprah’s] life.” Okay, firstly, way to belittle the actual obstacles Oprah Winfrey’s had to overcome in her life. But secondly, what a nice, professional way to take not getting your way all the time, O.
5. Her giving is self-serving. Oprah’s charitable work is nothing to sneeze at, but her bestowing of great gifts of money or material items is nauseatingly self-serving. When she appeared on Piers Morgan’s show, he mentioned her donations at $300 million, and Oprah’s reaction was to immediately correct him. She wouldn’t give a firm number, but she wanted to make it clear that it was much more than that miserable sum. The giving she does is really intended to draw attention to herself, wanting praise and accolades for her good deeds.
There was a firsthand account from an R.N. at a children’s hospital who said that one cancer patient in the 1990’s had wanted to meet Oprah as their ‘last wish’. When they made the call, they were told Oprah Winfrey would do it—only if cameras were present. When she was told cameras weren’t allowed inside the hospital, Oprah and her team cancelled the whole meeting. As a replacement, Michael Jordan met with the patient, because his stipulation was that there were specifically no cameras present during his meet-up. Because that’s how good deeds should be done.