OPrah Winfrey on Gayle
(Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for THR)

Oprah Winfrey Talks Receiving Backlash For Interviewing Michael Jackson’s Sexual Assault Accusers: “I Don’t Regret It”

Oprah Winfrey doesn’t regret interviewing Michael Jackson’s sexual assault accusers.

In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Winfrey opened up about the backlash she received before and after it was announced she’d be interviewing Jackson’s accusers, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, following the screening of HBO’s documentary series #LeavingNeverland. Regardless of the scrutiny, the 65-year-old media maven says she has no remorse for performing the interview.

“I don’t regret it,” Winfrey said. “I saw it, and I was shaken by it. I wasn’t even shaken by the fact that it was Michael Jackson, I was shaken by the fact that [director] Dan Reed had done a really good job of showing the pattern, and for years, I had been trying to show people the pattern.” She continued, “I’d been trying to say it’s not about the moment, it’s about the seduction. The first thing I said to Gayle [King] when we watched it was, ‘Gayle, you’ve got to get those guys [on CBS This Morning].”

Winfrey went on to say that she “knew that people were going to be triggered” by the documentary. “I knew that there would be people who would be re-traumatized by it and would see themselves in it, and I thought, ‘I can help thread the needle of what is actually happening here.’” The former talk-show host also discussed how she’d never experienced that much backlash since she appeared on Ellen DeGeneres‘ 1997 sitcom Ellen, in which DeGeneres came out publicly. “It made me think, ‘Thank goodness Ellen’s coming out was before social media because can you imagine?’” Winfrey said, adding that people on Twitter claimed she was “a disgrace to the race” for interviewing Robson and Safechuck.

“Yeah, the whole race,” she said of the backlash on Twitter. “I decided, you know what? This isn’t going to be healthy for me, so I just didn’t engage with it.”

Oprah Winfrey No Regret
Photo by Bryan BedderGetty Images for THR
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