In her heyday, Oprah Winfrey brought close to 10 million users a day to her self-titled Oprah Winfrey Show. Since retiring in 2011, the Oprah episodes have not stopped; they’ve just been transferred to a new medium: quote-filled interviews. Insider Monkey will take you through some of the latest.
With that being said, did you really expect anything less from a woman once deemed worthy of an entire top ten “most controversial moments” from TIME? On her resume, Oprah has single-handedly caused a mad-cow scare, multiple Rosie O’ Donnell hot button issues (ouch), and endorsed at least one questionable New Age self-help book.
What could top that?
Here are two recent controversies hitting the newswires this summer:
1) Saying Americans don’t understand the civil rights era
In an interview to promote her upcoming film, which you can see a preview of below, Oprah said that U.S. citizens’ knowledge of the civil rights era was “diddly-squat.”
That’s a bit harsh, Ms. Winfrey, but you’re generally correct. The Southern Poverty Law Center found in 2011 that 35 states received an “F” grade for its civil rights curricula. According to the SPLC, only Alabama, New York, and Florida were given “A”s.
It looks like Oprah did her homework.
2) Overestimating the number of African-American lynchings by more than 400-fold
In that same interview, she mentioned that “millions of people who heard that [the “n-word”] as their last word as they were hanging from a tree,” is the reason she despises the slang.
One statistical study, however, measures this number at just over 4,743 between 1882 and 1968.
Her reasoning is obviously more than justified, but someone should have double checked her math first. For the sake of accuracy.
So, we can add these two issues to Oprah Winfrey’s list of controversial statements, but at the end of the day, it’s her right to free speech, and that same right is given to each and every one of her U.S. born peers.
In terms of buzz, though, they’re generating the same level of talk as some of her past Oprah Winfrey episodes.
As promised, here’s a look at her new film, which also stars Liev Schreiber, John Cusack, Robin Williams, Forest Whitaker, Jane Fonda, Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr., Alan Rickman, and yes, Lenny Kravitz. It opens later this month.