It’s pretty hard to ascertain who is and who is not hypocritical today. And now there’s Oprah.
I’ve always considered her a class act. She has a great entrepreneurial story, has overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles to achieve great success, and has heretofore dodged the inevitable scandals that normally plague the successful. How?
It’s definitely not by dodging the limelight or hiding. She’s deftly navigated the waters of controversy by developing and maintaining a close-knit group of friends and associates that have proven their love and allegiance to their friend with their silence. It has served her well. But her publicly insulated lifestyle may be history. If Oprah eats a Twinkie or wears paisley shorts on her exercise bike the whole world will know…IF she runs for President.
It’s tough for a Southern black girl to make it in television. Oprah recognized that quickly and moved up North. Her career skyrocketed ironically with her lead role in the movie The Color Purple. But it was her production company and daily television talk show that won the hearts of Americans. Harpo Productions (also referred to as Harpo Studios) is a US-based multimedia production company she founded. (the name “Harpo” is “Oprah” spelled backwards, and was the name of her on-screen husband in The Color Purple) and is the sole subsidiary of her media and entertainment company, Harpo, Inc. OWN — the “Oprah Winfrey Network — pushed her to the top in television production. Chicago is where her success took off.
A mansion in Chicago, one in the Nashville suburbs and another in Los Angeles, her $60 million Global Express and $70 million Gulfstream jets were the evidence of just how good she had become professionally. She bought a stake in Weight Watchers and backed the career of Dr. Phil. But she carefully dodged the scrutiny so common for those in her same position — until last night.
Though she prominently endorsed and backed Obama’s ‘08 campaign, she otherwise stayed out of politics and avoided the normal political distractions of the wealthy. But Hollywood cast the lure, and she took the bait: the Cecil B. DeMille Award for Lifetime Achievements at the Golden Globes. Sunday evening, January 7th, Oprah took her place in the most entrenched group of hypocrites on Earth — the Hollywood elite. And she did so in an extremely ironic fashion.
In her acceptance speech she told young girls listening that “A new day is on the horizon.” This chapter of the Golden Globes ceremony was the first major awards show since Hollywood first began addressing rampant sexual harassment against women in the entertainment industry and beyond. Oprah referred to her joining the group that has taken on the task of making sure sexual harassment is erased called “#MeToo.”
“So I want tonight to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault because they, like my mother, had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue,” she said. “They’re the women whose names we’ll never know.” Winfrey said she has been “inspired” by “all the women who have felt strong enough and empowered enough to speak up and share their personal stories.”
So taking this stand and making this speech launched Oprah Winfrey’s NEW career. The media mogul segues from a monumentally successful media career that included movie and television without the usual baggage what has become the normal lifestyle of almost all rich people in Hollywood: Everyday Hypocrisy.
Oprah’s hypocrisy? This picture is of Oprah fawning over and kissing the cheek of Harvey Weinstein — the most horrendous of the Hollywood sexual predators. His salacious seductions of young, aspiring Hollywood starlets are legend and have been known by pretty much everyone in the industry for decades. Hundreds if not thousands of television and movie directors, producers, studio executives, actors and actresses have known of Weinstein’s actions and have remained quiet about them, not weighing-in to condemn his unethical and even illegal actions against an unknowable number of women. Why their silence? They are petrified of retribution by Hollywood where sexual harassment has been winked at for decades. It’s a way of life.
Oprah is not alone in her years-long silence on the subject. Famous stars like Cher, Meryl Streep, Barbara Streisand, and dozens of others have stood silent while women have been savaged by Weinstein. And he is not alone. The number of 90211 predators is spooky scary. Meryl and Barb and Cher and now Oprah are finally taking a stand in support of their fellow women.
But why just now?
Timing is everything — even when it comes to attacking sexual harassment. Never mind the lives not talking about it were destroyed. The timing was not good for revelation. But now such revelation of harassment and the damning of the perpetrators is politically correct. it’s time to tear offenders to shreds.
It’s actors in Hollywood, Congressmen, Senators, high profile members of the Media, and even corporate executives.
For Oprah, it’s different: she is seriously considering a run for the White House in 2020. And she has learned her first political lesson: you’ve got to clean the skeletons out of your closet before you run, because they will ALL be exposed when you declare. And exposure of sexual predators is the self-righteous responsibility of the Hollywood elite this year. And in Hollywood if you do something today that you should have done 10 years ago is OK, because you did it. “When” you did it doesn’t matter. And “why” you did it when you did doesn’t either. And the lives your silence by waiting so long to expose it are immaterial. All that matters is that you did it.
Who knows if Oprah will run? I don’t think she even knows now. Whether or not she can win is also a question that cannot be answered. I am certain she either has or will engage the best experts in the U.S. to test focus groups, conduct polls out the wazoo, and even do opposition research to determine her likelihood of winning if she runs.
Want my opinion? I don’t think she’ll run — she’s really smart…and really wealthy…and really easy going. Though she’s a billionaire and the wealthiest woman in the U.S., I doubt she will (whenever all the polls and stats are in) want to get down in the political mud and live there for 3 or 4 years before an election in 2020. Of course a successful run would make her the first female U.S. President — and a black one at that. But I don’t think she is driven toward such a goal as was Hillary.
I think she knows just how nasty a run against Donald Trump would be. The Queens bully does not and will not hesitate to take her on in whatever ways are necessary to win — especially if/when any Oprah dirt was uncovered.
Oprah has dipped her toe into the PC waters of Malibu, and she likes that. She likes the status and the lack of stress. She likes the peace of the beach. If she runs for President, all that is gone.
Oprah doesn’t need that. And she certainly does not want that.