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Oprah Winfrey Has To Defend Defamation Suit

Oprah A judge denied Oprah's motion to dismiss, and now she is forced to be in Philadelphia for a two week defamation case brought against her by a former headmistress of her school in South Africa.  The case is set to begin on March 29th.  I wonder if this means reruns of the Oprah Winfrey Show, or if she will broadcast from Philly like she did when she was sued in Texas by the cattle ranchers.  And that trial brought us the likes of Dr. Phil.  I wonder what crazy characters she can pick up in Philly?

This case stems from comments Oprah made after the sex abuse allegations at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls hit.  Oprah said she had "lost confidence" in headmistress Nomvuyo Mzamane and was "cleaning house from top to bottom."  Problem is, someone else was charged with the crime.

Winfrey's lawyers sought to dismiss the suit on grounds the remarks she made at an Oct. 20, 2007 meeting with parents and at a Nov. 5, 2007 press conference reflected only her opinions.  Winfrey's lawyers wrote that any damage Mzamane suffered was by her own conduct, "including presiding over a school where serious allegations of child abuse were made against the dorm parents." 

Oprah_winfrey

The judge found that Winfrey made both Mzamane and the dorm parents appear "culpable" by telling parents, "I'm going to find a new head of the academy for the school. ... Dorm parents are gone, (Mzamane) is gone."

The statement suggests Mzamane had a role in the mistreatment of the students, "which clearly would tend to 'blacken' plaintiff's reputation or injure her in her profession," U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno said.  Robreno also said a listener could infer Winfrey based the comments on facts gleaned from the school's internal investigation.

"Oprah and Harpo await the opportunity to present the case in court," her lawyer, Chip Babcock said.  Harpo, Oprah's production company, is also named in the suit.    Mzamane's lawyer, Timothy McGowan, said he was ready for trial but otherwise declined comment.  

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Comments

Jessi

Frankly, I think it's fine to imply that there is culpability on the part of the person in charge of the persons who sexually abused children at work. I mean, am I wrong here? Doesn't the buck stop at the top?

Katya

Try telling that to my apartment manager. ZING!




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