“Oprah Winfrey arguably has more influence on the culture than any university president, politician, political or religious leader, except perhaps the pope.”
- Vanity Fair Magazine, in 1994.
“She (Oprah) may be uncomfortable talking about it (money), but when it comes to making it, she sure knows what she's doing.”
- Fortune Magazine, in March 2002.
THE MAD COW CONTROVERSY – A TALK SHOW QUEEN IN TROUBLE
In mid-1996, Oprah Winfrey (Oprah), one of the world’s most well-known media personalities and the host of the ‘Oprah Winfrey Show,’ was entangled in a major controversy. The controversy arose because of statements made by Oprah and Howard Lyman (Lyman, a founder member of the Humane Society of the US) during an episode of the ‘Oprah Winfrey Show’ telecast on April 16 1996. The show, based on the theme, ‘Dangerous Food,’ talked about the Mad Cow disease and the threat it supposedly posed to beef consumers in the US.
On the show, Lyman blamed the practice of feeding rendered livestock (protein derived from cattle remains) to cattle for outbreak of the disease in Europe, which resulted in the death of over 1.5 million cattle and 20 people in 1996. Lyman’s statements suggested that beef consumers in the US could also contract the human form of the mad cow disease as a similar practice of feeding livestock was followed in the US. On the show, Oprah swore that she would never eat a hamburger again in her life.
In May 1996, some cattle producers filed a $10.3 million suit against Oprah and Lyman in the Texas state court, under the Texas False Disparagement of Perishable Food Products Act, claiming, business disparagement, negligence and defamation. They said Oprah created fear regarding the consumption of beef, when she vowed that she would never again eat a burger in her life. David Mullin, an attorney representing cattle producers, said, “The message of the show was never meant to be where... [continues]
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