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Oprah Winfrey Under Fire Over New TV Special

July 24th, 2012 11:51pm EDT

Oprah Winfrey

Media mogul Oprah Winfrey has come under fire for her "ignorant" portrayal of India in a recently-aired TV special.

The talk show host documented her January journey to Asia in a two-part series for her program Oprah's Next Chapter, which premiered in India over the weekend.

However, the project has sparked a negative reaction from many viewers over claims she did little more than perpetuate stereotypes, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The bosses of leading Indian TV channel, CNN-IBN, posted an open letter to Winfrey from an offended fan on its website, which reads, "As a responsible public figure about to air a show that will be beamed across the world, you should have done your homework."

The viewer took aim at comments Winfrey made about the ancient custom of using hands to eat meals instead of cutlery, adding, "Using our hands to eat is a well established tradition and a fact none of us are ashamed of."

Another critic on local news site Firstpost.com called the project "myopic, unaware, ignorant and gauche," and a reporter for popular Hindi newspaper Dainik Bhaskar, which contained the headline "Snobbish Oprah Mocks India", wrote, "In a typical American snooty style, the talk show queen tried to portray a superficial 'sob story'. Oprah was anything but a good guest when she went around the small room interrogating the family members about their 'poor' living style and 'miserly' living."

The Wall Street Journal's India Real Time writers additionally called out Winfrey for showing "India as Westerners imagine it, one stereotype at a time," and editors at the Daily Bhaskar website claimed the "ill picturized and badly scripted show" portrayed India "in poor light."


Photo Credits: Janet Mayer / PR Photos