Is Oprah A Fraud?

By Gwen Farrell··  6 min read
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shutterstock Is Oprah A Fraud?

It feels as though every other day now, we see another powerful figure fall from grace. This latest one is a surprise to some but for others, it’s been a long time coming.

Media mogul Oprah Winfrey is a household name worldwide, and has long been recognized for her many notable interviews with celebrities and public figures, her relationships with the Hollywood elite, her talk show, and most recently, her shocking tell-all with Harry and Meghan. She’s made a name for herself, not only as a producer and talk show host, but as an altruistic philanthropist. But is it possible Oprah is a fraud?

The Accusations

The most recent allegations of the “ugly truth” surrounding Oprah come from none other than actress and activist Rose McGowan.

At one time, McGowan was a media darling. Her revelations of assault and Hollywood blackballing at the hands of another media mogul, Harvey Weinstein, were the impetus for the Me Too movement. (McGowan continues to stand by statements she’s made to journalist Ronan Farrow, saying that Weinstein raped her in his hotel room in 1997.) However, McGowan has done a 180 in recent memory and become active as an antihero to #MeToo and #TimesUp, movements which she claims are more about appearances than helping survivors. 

Rose McGowan claims Oprah is “as fake as they come.”

McGowan continues to make bombshell claims related to her abuse, as she recently revealed that California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s wife Jennifer tried to get her to drop her allegations against Weinstein, with whom she was friends. This led to McGowan appearing publicly with Newsom’s recall election opponent, Larry Elder. Weinstein was later found guilty on multiple counts of rape and sexual assault, and sentenced to 23 years.

But the Newsoms weren’t the only ones to bear the brunt of McGowan’s anger. On August 29, McGowan tweeted a picture of Oprah kissing Weinstein’s cheek with the caption: “I am glad more are seeing the ugly truth of Oprah. I wish she were real, but she isn’t. From being pals with Weinstein to abandoning & destroying Russell Simmon’s victims, she is about supporting a sick power structure for personal gain, she is as fake as they come. #lizard”

Oprah’s Weird Health Promotions

The ugly truth about Oprah is pretty much an open secret by now. Aside from her sketchy friendships, which we’ll get to, she’s also used her global platform and influence to peddle tons of strange promotions and host charlatan guests under the guise of “health.”

Pseudoscience masquerading as safe practices for health and wellbeing is sadly nothing new in Hollywood (looking at you, Goop), but Oprah was pretty much the originator of the trend. Besides actively promoting New Age guru Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret on her show (leading one viewer to forgo chemotherapy for a cancer diagnosis because she was so convinced by Oprah’s allegiance to the supposed “law of attraction”), she’s also aligned herself with controversial TV personality Dr. Oz.

If you’re unaware, Dr. Mehmet Oz is an MD with his own show, which he uses to sell supplements, fad diets, and other health trends viewers would be better off avoiding.

Oprah has promoted “psychic healing methods” on her show.

Not only that, but Oprah has promoted “psychic healing methods” on her show. In 2013, Oprah had a self-described faith healer from Brazil as a guest to discuss supposed miracles he’s performed – such as performing surgery without anesthesia. In 2018, 200 women came forward to say that the guest in question had sexually abused them while they were being treated by him. 

Oprah’s show didn’t have a great track record of booking so-called “experts” with actual professional reputations and credibility, going back years. In 2006, she hosted “childhood education expert” Dr. Melvin Levine. Levine, a pediatrician, later faced a litany of sex abuse allegations and committed suicide in the midst of a malpractice suit. Dr. Jan Adams, the plastic surgeon responsible for the death of Kanye West’s mom Donda (she died after complications from a surgery), also made appearances on her show. 

Then there are the allegations of sexual abuse at a South African school that Oprah founded, making her staff do a 21-day vegan cleanse...the list goes on and on.

Oprah's Public Friendships

On an equally problematic level with potentially harmful health promotions are Oprah’s personal relationships. McGowan’s original reference to Oprah’s relationship with Weinstein might come as a surprise to some, but their public appearances together and friendship are very well documented.

Oprah was publicly friends with Weinstein before allegations against him came out, and has said, “What I knew about Harvey was that Harvey was a bully and that if Harvey’s on the phone you go, God you don’t want to take the call, because you’re going to get bullied in some way.”

Oprah and Harvey Weinstein’s friendship is well documented. 

Many believe that she knew much more though. British singer-songwriter Seal publicly accused Oprah of knowing about Weinstein’s abuse for “decades” and never doing anything about it, allowing him to abuse and assault young girls for years before any accusers came forward. Hollywood elite knowing about Weinstein’s abuse is often written off or branded as conspiracy, but it’s a potential explanation as to how he was able to victimize so many women and continue his heinous crimes undeterred. 

Then, there’s Oprah’s chummy relationship with the Sussexes, Harry and Meghan. Many believe the pair to be opportunists (with Meghan at the helm of their family-turned-brand), but the first sit-down interview in America they granted was to Oprah. During the interview, which was watched by millions of people and even nominated for an Emmy, Meghan strategically revealed instances of alleged racism against her and her children by members of the royal household, coaxed by Oprah. The primetime special eventually lost the Emmy to a rival program, but the tight relationship between Oprah and the Sussexes continued after the broadcast.

Closing Thoughts

Tyra Banks, Ellen Degeneres – so many of the public figures we previously thought of as trustworthy turned out to be the exact opposite. Would it really be so crazy that Oprah is just another perceived altruist who actually works for her own personal gain more than anyone else’s?

We’re told that the people we surround ourselves with influence who we are. If the people you’re hobnobbing with are pretentious elitists and sexual predators, you probably won’t escape unscathed. 

We view Oprah as the quintessential talk show host, health and wellness advocate, selfless philanthropist, and well-loved celebrity. As we already know, appearances are deceiving. If we’ve learned anything from the craziness of the last couple of years, it’s that those who want our trust and feel they’ve earned it should very seldom be taken at their word.

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