In March, talk-show host and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey trended on social media for all the wrong reasons. She was accused of sex trafficking and it was rumoured her house in Florida had been raided by police. But she soon took to Twitter to set the story straight.
And two months later, Oprah has decided to share her story on the allegations in her own words at The Oprah Magazine.
“Imagine sitting cosily in bed, propped up on your favourite pillows, 240 pages into a riveting family saga – when you get a phone call telling you you’re trending on Twitter. And you discover it’s a bogus and vile story that you were arrested and your home was raided for sex trafficking and child pornography. I can’t and don’t want to imagine an uglier accusation,” her piece starts.
The talk-show host had done damage control at the time the claims surfaced by stating they were fake, and that she was adhering to her country’s rules by sanitising and self-distancing.
In her article, Oprah expresses how she’s always been a target for fake news and how she has always been exploited. She states that it started when she carried 67 pounds (30kg) of fat onto the stage during the highest-rated episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1988. She also delved into her childhood and linked her current fear of being accused of something she hadn’t done.
“I always feared what the next false headline would be. Why? Because I knew for sure that while a lot of people dismissed the stories, a lot of other people believed them.
“My fear of being punished for something I didn’t do stems from growing up being whipped for minor infractions. Accidentally breaking a glass or a dish, getting my Sunday dress dirty, playing in a puddle with my shoes on. Just being a kid. I grew up trying to please everyone to avoid the whipping. It was hardwired in my head.
“Eventually, after five decades, I began to heal my disease to please by learning to operate from intention,” the media executive writes.
She says the crude headlines and false claims still give her anxiety, but that the people close to her and the Bible keep her level-headed.