After her interview with two young girls goes viral, Oprah is in a lot of trouble

In the current cultural landscape of the United States, a reckoning is underway, spurred by movements such as #MeToo and the renewed momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement following the tragic death of George Floyd in 2020. Oprah Winfrey has found herself in the spotlight once again as a resurfaced 2004 interview reveals her direct questioning of the Olsen twins about their “size” when they were 17 years old, amid accusations of an eating disorder.

The rediscovery of this interview on the internet has sparked controversy, prompting Oprah to defend herself against claims of insensitivity. At the time of the interview, both Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were reportedly grappling with an eating disorder, bringing attention to the challenges faced by child stars.

During the interview, Oprah, then 50 years old, addressed the eating disorder claims and proceeded to inquire about the girls’ weights, catching them off guard. Ashley attempted to shift the focus by highlighting the scrutiny that fame brings, emphasizing that people can write whatever they want, whether positive or negative. Nevertheless, Oprah persisted, asking, “What size are you, by the way?”

Mary-Kate, feeling uncomfortable, responded that she had always been “petite,” and the unexpected question left the twins visibly shocked. Despite attempting to inject humor into the situation, Oprah, who has been candid about her own weight struggles, continued the discussion. She even joked about her size obsession, saying, “I’m obsessed with size, and you’re like, ‘I really don’t know!'”

In response to another question, Mary-Kate emphasized that if they were obsessed with their size, the narrative would be different. Shortly after the interview, Mary-Kate sought help for her anorexia by checking into a therapy center, spending six weeks before being released in July 2004.

The revived interview has sparked criticism of Oprah’s questioning style, with some expressing discomfort about the appropriateness of interview questions, especially when they involve sensitive topics like mental health and body image.

Reactions include sentiments like, “Wow. Has anyone ever criticized Oprah for this? Why does it feel so wrong?” and discussions around the acceptability of interview questions, particularly when directed at young individuals and dealing with delicate subjects like mental health and body image.