Oprah Winfrey's Double Standard on Domestic Violence


bebeoprah11 I am not an Oprah fan…..

I used to be one of those big Oprah fans and dedicated supporters who loved the show and everything else affiliated with Oprah Winfrey. I was proud to see a strong, black woman rise up from a troubled childhood and climb the ladder of success, but in recent years my support of Oprah has dwindled tremendously. I don’t watch her show and I wouldn’t even consider picking up an issue of  her magazine. But this blog post is not about the various reasons I no longer support the Big O. This blog post is about Oprah’s continued support of singer BeBe Winans even after he was accused of physically assaulting his ex-wife in February of this year. It is about Oprah speaking publicly about her disdain for Chris Brown after his altercation with Rihanna, but still remaining bubbly and friendly with BeBe Winans as if one abuser is better than the other. Abuse is abuse regardless of who the abuser is.

BeBe was arrested, as was Chris Brown. Both men were taken to jail for a physical act of violence against a woman. Oprah, in my opinion handled the Chris Brown situation from a judgmental point of view. She not only spoke her opinion on the situation, but she also did an entire segment on Domestic Violence; a subject that the Big O didn’t appear to give a damn about before the Chris Brown and Rihanna incident.  Yet, in the case of BeBe Winans, who is one of Oprah’s favorite singers and close friends, she seems to have a innocent until proven guilty view of the situation. Even after the arrest and a pending court appearance, BeBe Winans will be hosting Oprah’s Karaoke Challenge which will air November 5, 2009.

Of course Oprah can befriend whomever she likes. She can have anyone on her show that she chooses, but I seriously do not believe that Oprah would allow Chris Brown to host a podcast, nonetheless a portion of her show.  Her actions when handling both of these situations just seems hypocritical and biased. Whether it be a push, which is what BeBe Winans was accused of doing, or a full out attack as in the case of Chris Brown, domestic violence is wrong.

If you are going to speak out on domestic violence and take a stance against it, do so without being biased. Do so without approaching the situation as a victim supporter and an abuser trasher…unless the abuser is your close friend. Don’t  look at it with a different set of eyes and speak on it with a different voice just because he is a gospel singer and a close friend.  That, Oprah is hypocritical.

 With the celebrity status that Oprah Winfrey has, she of all people should know that there are three sides to every story. Neither Oprah nor the rest of the world was in the car with Chris Brown and Rihanna, neither were we witness to the incident that occurred between BeBe Winans and his ex-wife Debra Winans. With that being said, we are not aware of the full details of either incident.

Oprah is quoted as saying in relation to the Chris Brown & Rihanna incident:

Love doesn’t hurt. And if a man hits you once, he will hit you again

If that is your belief, apply that to every abuser Oprah, not just Chris Brown. Please don’t get me wrong, I feel that the show was very beneficial. It not only gave the issue of domestic violence a louder voice, but it spoke about and to a group of people who are becoming victims of domestic violence far too often, teenage girls.

I just feel that efforts to end domestic violence should; provide awareness of the issue, assistance to victims and help for the abusers. You can’t have one without the other, if the cycle of violence is to be broken.

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9 thoughts on “Oprah Winfrey's Double Standard on Domestic Violence”

  1. This is slightly off-topic, but one of my problems with Oprah is that 17 of her last 19 book club books have been written by men. They very well may be excellent books (indeed I think some of them are), but it would be nice if Oprah used her large platform and influence to acknowledge and promote good books written by female authors. Especially since, well, much of her success is due to the support of her female viewers and fans.

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  2. Great post Black girl thinking! You are totally on the money…but like you said, BeBe is her friend and she is basically helping is image so that when he does appear in court he will not be demonized, although what he did was horrible.

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  3. These are two different situations. Chris Brown admitted to being guilty of beating Rihanna and there were pictures to prove it. Instead of laying low after the incident he goes on to insult Oprah for not supporting him just because he performed for her girls school in South Africa. His apology was fake and it is evident every time he tries to blame someone else for what he did. He has not owned up to his part and is making himself look like a bigger idiot by saying that Rihanna should not publicly speak about the incident, that it should remain private between the two of them. How dare he? Bebe Winans was accused and has stated numerous times that he is innocent. When he goes to court and is found guilty or pictures surface than it will be a different story. Chris Brown could not have been considered innocent until proven guilty when he confessed to beating her.

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  4. This is not the first time that Oprah has done a show on domestic violence. She has a long standing history of producing shows about physical and sexual violence.

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  5. Nicole thanks for stopping by and commenting

    Update: BeBe Winans will not be hosting the Karaoke Challenge.

    Whether the situations in which the allegations of abuse happened are different,both men were accused of domestic violence against a woman. Whether Rihanna was hurt more in the altercation than Debra Winans does not matter. Whether BeBe speaks publicly about the incident or not does not matter. BeBe does not go to court for this until 2010, so until then he has not been found guilty OR innocent.

    What matters is that he was accused of this and arrested, just as Chris Brown was. Regardless of whether there are pictures of the abuse does not matter becasue he was accused and arrested, just as Chris Brown and Oprah should handle BeBe’s situation just as she did Chris.

    If you decide to take a stand against domestic violence as a role model and public figure such as Oprah you cannot show favortism just because you know the person accused of the crime.

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  6. I agree, black girl thinking. Oprah should not show favoritism – I would like to see her address the issue head-on again, like she did last February, and not just send ‘signals’ of what she believes through whom she chooses to be on her show. For instance, she has saluted Marala Scott as an ‘Ambassador of Hope’ on Oprah.com and on her Angel Network, especially for her work on the ‘Indicators of an Abuser,’ and we could see this knowledgeable, substantive speaker appear on Oprah’s show. That would be terrific.

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  7. @Black Girl Thinking,

    Accusations & Guilt are 2 different things. As Nicole stated, Chris Brown ADMITTED 2 attacking Rihanna (not that he had a choice, because the pictures had already surfaced). Bebe

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