8 Hypocrisies of Oprah
What I’m about to say goes against everything sacred and holy to Oprah fans.
And by fans, I don’t just mean viewers.
I mean those who watch her show, her ‘after-show’ and her ‘behind-the-scenes’ shows, her struggling network, readers of her magazine and all who try following in her $1200 red-soled Christian Louboutin high heels.
Oprah Winfrey is a hypocrite.
Before you ready the tar and feathers, allow me to plead my case.
Using quotes from Ms. Winfrey as launch pads, here are my points of contention with the Grande Dame of talk:
- ‘Are we so celebrity-, status- and stuff-obsessed that we’ve just literally lost our minds? It’s like we’re in this envious race to just get more and more and more and still feeling emptier and lonelier and more disconnected.’
This spoken by the same woman who for 9 years gave guests status-branded items by Coach, UGG, Ralph Lauren Cashmere, Apple and designer Tory Burch on her most celebrated episodes, ‘Oprah’s Favorite Things’.
2010 gifts totaled $15,683 not including the cost of the 2012 VW Beetle car and the Royal Caribbean cruise. Her hand-picked choices of personal favorites that make ‘the O list’ of her monthly magazine are equally pricey.
The doyenne espouses spirituality and paring down one’s life while promoting excessive, and for most fans, unaffordable displays of wealth and status.
She’s talking out of both sides of her mouth. What philosophy does she truly support? There’s an unashamed disconnect.
- ‘We don’t need to take more than we need; we’ve got to put our consumption-obsessed culture into perspective.’
Depending upon your source, Oprah currently owns between six to eight estates.
Don’t get me wrong here. I’m a free-market capitalist. I don’t deny Ms. Winfrey any of her mansions as she’s earned everyone.
I’m wondering if she feels she’s taking more than she needs, more land, more electricity, gas, water and resources to care for her many manors along with her private jet to get from estate to estate.
Or does she only wish that her fans and supporters re-evaluate their time-share condos and summer cottages?
It’s just something to think about...
- ‘We’re not trying to change your beliefs or get you to think a certain way. It’s about starting the conversation to a more conscious way of thinking about things. (We’re) not saying you have to give up all your stuff.’ (Oprah followed this comment with an ear-to-ear smile and a sigh of relief.)
Oprah doesn’t want anyone asking her why she feels the need to own six to eight estates. She is, after all, only a household of one.
Yet she’s preaching to her fans that they should examine the excess in their mostly average lives, which likely have unremarkable bank balances and free-falling retirement plans.
Do you think she’s felt the effects of the recession which began in December of 2007?
- ‘One of the ways we’ve gotten so off-course is the obsession with celebrity-dom. As a celebrity it seems crazy to me.’
Let’s review a few pages from Oprah’s personal celebrity-dom history, starting in 2005.
If the obsession with the rich and famous has ‘gotten so off-course’ why did Oprah create a media stink when she and her entourage were denied after-hours access to the Hermes store in Paris?
Oprah arrived unannounced, 15 minutes after closing and expected them to re-open and allow her to shop privately with her peeps in tow, until the Oprah troupe decided they were through.
Anyone who has ever worked retail sided with the sales and management staff.
She’s lucky Hermes staff didn’t bring out the guillotine as punishment for making the request, let alone for the bad behavior she displayed after being turned away.
Talk about self-promoting celebrity idol-worship.
Clearly, she was expecting Hermes to be awed by her star-power.
This episode begs me to ask, if we are supposed to be turning towards our spirituality and away from being ‘status- and stuff-obsessed’ what was she doing in Hermes, anyway?
Regarding the obsession with celebrity-dom, in 2009 Oprah closed 1 mile of Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago for three full days, so she could tape one show.
To top it all off, 21,000 of her closest fans performed (and, no, I’m not making this up) ‘the Oprah feeling dance’ at her feet, during the show.
So, which is it? You can’t have your gateau and eat it too, Oprah.
Would your ‘O’ empire be so vast without your devoted followers?
Are we ‘celebrity obsessed’ or are you a bit obsessed with your own celebrity, too?
- ‘This culture celebrates people for doing absolutely nothing. Everybody who’s watching reality TV is the feeder for the system. You are all feeders for this system.’
While I don’t disagree with her statement, Oprah was the one who had The Octomom and the woman whose face was torn off by a pet monkey on her show.
Doesn’t that make Oprah a feeder of the sensationalistic media system, as well?
I’m just saying…
- ‘Spirit means more than appearance.’
Oprah can ‘talk the talk’ all she wants. Truth be told, story after story can be found, telling how the attractive, best dressed and best tress-ed guests are handpicked to be seated in the front rows of her audience.
I even found fan posts on the official Oprah.com blog, mentioning this taking place.
You may have gone to the taping with your girlfriends, only to find your seats separated because you weren’t a winner in the impromptu Oprah beauty contest.
There’s a cliché about ‘beauty being only skin deep’, unless you’re Oprah…then its essential.
- ‘I’m encouraging others to walk their spiritual path to righteous.’
While on the way to locating her spiritual truth, Oprah has lost the battle of wills over her weight.
With more money than most could dream of and with her team of experts to guide her, even Oprah couldn’t conquer what over 50% of the US population also struggles with: a healthy diet, portion control and exercise.
With Dr. Phil telling her to get real about her weight and what she ate, Marianne Williamson guiding Oprah to identify her spiritual path so she can embrace the ‘it’s not what you’re eating, it’s what’s eating you’ mentality, personal trainer Bob Greene and a string of personal chefs and medical doctors, Oprah raised the white flag of defeat over the mighty bathroom scale.
The inconsistency between her thinking and her reality is apparent in her 2010 Oprah’s Favorite Things give-away.
Oprah gave away a Panini Press, a Brownie Pan, a Lasagna Pan, $30 worth of Macaroni-and-Cheese, a $20 Chicken Pot Pie, a $135 tin of gourmet caramel, buttered and cheddar popcorn, ($135 worth of popcorn is a boat-load of popcorn, even by movie theater prices), brownie mix, $40 worth of croissants and (drum roll, please)…Marianne Williamson’s book, ‘A Course in Weight Loss’.
Is it just me? Or do you hear the Sesame Street Muppets singing, ‘One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn’t belong’, too?
I haven’t read Ms. Williamson’s book, but I doubt it endorses eating any of the gifted food items to reach your target weight loss.
When Oprah and her staff decided to go vegetarian for one week, Oprah laughed while admitting she, ‘thought that gave me permission to pig-out on potato chips for a week.’
That comment alone shows me Oprah’s obvious lack of commitment to the most simple of changes.
That’s not how a leader acts.
She’s been proselytizing to her fans, daily for 25 years about choosing to make small changes so they can live their best life.
Yet the best she can do is to gorge on potato chips for a week, while the rest of her staff makes an effort to eat vegetarian?
Perhaps her personal chef was away on vacation.
- “Free speech not only lives, it rocks!’
This was Oprah’s cheer, after winning the court case vs. Texas cattlemen in 1998.
Upon closer examination, it appears the Big O isn’t such a fan of free speech, after all.
Tim Jones of the Chicago Tribune reports:
‘All employees at Harpo, Inc., Oprah’s corporate parent, must sign an agreement prohibiting them from talking or writing about Winfrey’s business life or personal life and the affairs of her company for the rest of their lives.’
This is another example of Ms. Winfrey declaring, ‘Do as I say, not as I do.’
Do I hear an ‘Amen!’ for speaking the truth about Oprah?
At the very least, I hope I’ve given you something to think about rather than blindly following Oprah like an unquestioning member of her flock.
Follow It Inward…
I’m not perfect, to say the least.
But I haven’t made $3 billion dollars preaching to the masses about how my devout and worshipping fans should or shouldn’t live their lives, especially when those sermons are in such direct contradiction to how I live my life.
Oprah has proven by her actions that she has no intention of living how she expects her fans to live.
She’s somehow entitled to what they aren’t.
Ms. Winfrey has taught herself to ignore her hypocritical and inconsistent life, while indoctrinating her adoring, obedient flock.
After all, it’s nearly impossible to bring sheep that stray from the pack back into the fold, once they’ve started thinking on their own.
As Sam Keen once said,
‘It seems improbable to me that God would have whispered the meaning of my life into the ear of some guru or authority.’
Connie Lee is the Author of ’The Power To Live’ blog. She helps people discover the questions that unlock the door to their fiercely positive future and shows them how to turn their smallest choices into their biggest dreams.
With inspiring true stories, humor and hard-earned ‘life smarts’, Connie encourages you to question the status quo, builds up your confidence to choose new paths, and helps you realize you already have the strength to fight for the fiercely positive life you deserve. Are you ready to discover your ‘Power to Live’?