Oprah Winfrey discusses #MeToo, thanks Chicago exec in Golden Globes speech
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Oprah Winfrey used her moment on the Golden Globes stage Sunday to encourage further exposure of sexual misconduct and to thank crucial people in her life — including a Chicago TV exec.
Winfrey expressed her gratitude to Dennis Swanson, who as WLS-Channel 7 vice president and general manager in the 1980s hired Winfrey, an obscure Baltimore TV personality, to front the station’s “A.M. Chicago.” Ratings soared, and the series evolved into the nationally syndicated “Oprah Winfrey Show.” Swanson later ran ABC Television Stations, ABC Daytime, ABC Sports, WNBC in New York, CBS Television Stations and Fox Television Stations Group. He retired in 2016.
As the first black women to accept the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement, Oprah said she hopes it has an impact on young girls. The actress and businesswoman spoke about the feelings she had as a young girl watching Sidney Poitier win the best actor Academy Award in 1964. She likened the pride she felt watching Poitier, the first black man to win the best best actor Oscar, to the impact she hoped she could have on young women.
Winfrey also addressed the sexual misconduct scandal roiling Hollywood and beyond, telling those watching “speaking your truth is the most powerful tool you all have.”
“For too long women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power of those men,” said Winfrey. “But their time is up. Their time is up!”
More than any award handed out Sunday at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, Winfrey’s moment — one greeted by a rousing, ongoing standing ovation, one that left many attendees and viewers in tears — encapsulated the mood at an unusually powerful Golden Globes. The night served as Hollywood’s fullest response yet to the sexual harassment scandals that have roiled the film industry and laid bare its gender inequalities.
“A new day is on the horizon!” promised Winfrey, who noted she was the first black woman to be given the honor.
Reese Witherspoon introduced Winfrey and described their friendship, forged over long sessions in a makeup trailer while filming “A Wrinkle in Time.” Witherspoon said sitting in the room with Oprah was like taking the best business classes, and her hugs could end wars.