Media and political circles are excited Monday following a barnburner of a speech this weekend from Oprah Winfrey, the media mogul most responsible for amplifying anti-vaccination theories, mainstreaming self-help “spiritualism” and launching the careers of infamous quacks Dr. Oz and Dr. Phil.
President Trump has proven already that even carnival barkers can be elected President of the United States, so the 2020 presidential buzz coming off of Winfrey’s address Sunday evening at the 75th Golden Globes isn’t that insane.
NBC, however, stepped in it even before the noted media proprietor delivered her prepared remarks.
“Nothing but respect for OUR future president,” the network's official Twitter account said in a since-deleted tweet that referred both to a joke told by Golden Globes host Seth Meyers and a separate pro-Trump tweet that went viral last year.
It's an amateur-hour moment, for sure. But it's worse than that.
Winfrey’s Golden Globes address focused exclusively on the “MeToo” movement, which seeks to shine a light on systemic sexism and sexual misconduct.
“In my career, what I've always tried my best to do, whether on television or through film, is to say something about how men and women really behave,” Winfrey said. She added, “So I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say ‘Me too’ again.”
Considering that this is what Winfrey chose to speak on, NBC’s social media quip takes on new levels of terribleness.
The tweet, which was deleted Monday morning, goes from appearing merely ill-advised to drawing attention to NBC's toxic culture of sexual misconduct, the seriousness of which has come to light only recently, and the company’s history of mishandling abuse allegations.
Remember: It was not long ago that NBC fired former "Today" show host Matt Lauer over allegations he sexually harassed and assaulted female subordinates. One woman even claims she was raped by the former morning host. Lauer's ouster also coincided with separate reports alleging the network turned a blind eye to his alleged predations.
And that’s just the beginning for NBC, as we’ve documented elsewhere. The company’s mishandling of accusations of sexual misconduct stretches back several years.
In 1999, for example, the network held its exclusive interview with Juanita Broaddrick, who claims Bill Clinton raped her in the 1970s, until after the president had been acquitted on two articles of impeachment.
More recently, NBC sat on the infamous "Access Hollywood" tape, which features then-NBC employee Donald Trump bragging about grabbing women “by the pussy.” The video surfaced during the 2016 election, but only after a leaker sent it to the Washington Post. NBC News still hasn’t explained how its news division got scooped on its own media property.
Then there are the reports alleging NBC tried to quash MSNBC’s Ronan Farrow’s dogged reporting on the sexual abuse scandal involving Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, whose business interests are very much intertwined with NBC's.
Farrow himself has confirmed the media company tried to bury his original reporting. It’s worth noting his Weinstein bombshell, which is largely responsible for giving the “Me Too” movement a much-needed spark, didn’t run on NBC’s own network. Farrow's exclusive Weinstein coverage was instead published by the New Yorker.
Further, after reports surfaced alleging Lauer harassed and assaulted subordinates, both Variety and the New York Times produced sources claiming NBC executives were aware of their talent’s reportedly monstrous behavior. These same sources also claim NBC brass made no effort to stop it.
Capping it all off, certain MSNBC hosts bragged on air not long after Lauer was fired about what they knew of his reported sexual misconduct.
Considering the content of Winfrey’s address, NBC's Beatlemania-esque tweet is much worse than an amateur moment for the company. It’s much worse than making things more difficult for the company’s news division, should she actually run in 2020.
The tweet calls attention to NBC’s decades of mishandling of high-profile and serious allegations of sexual misconduct. It calls attention to the fact that NBC is part of the reason things like “MeToo” even exist.