How And Why To Sue Oprah, The Bovine Billionaire

by Michael Applebaum, MD, JD, FCLM

Texas cattlemen, at the urging of now-governor Rick Perry, sued Oprah Winfrey in early 1996 for the Texas crime of disparaging beef.

They lost.

It was a matter of free speech and defamation.

Defamation cases are tough cases to win.


Suppose, that like the cattle farmers, you believed that you were injured by Oprah.

Suppose that unlike the cattle farmers, you believed that you were injured by Oprah in a different way.

Suppose that you believed that you were injured physically and financially, but no defamation.

Suppose that you believed that your physical injury resulted from following “Oprah-endorsed” weight loss advice.

Suppose you believed that your financial injury resulted from purchasing an “Oprah-endorsed” weight loss book, product or related-item. An item from, let’s say, Jorge Cruise, Mehmet Oz, Michael Roizen, David Katz, Phil McGraw, Art Agatston, Barry Sears or Bob Greene, for example.

Suppose you thought that the reason you were unable to lose weight was because you followed the “Oprah-endorsed” diet advice that is spouted on her show or in her magazine and that the advice was flawed. See here, here, here and here.

Suppose you thought that Oprah owed it to you to investigate the weight loss claims of her experts, since she knew or should have known that what is broadcast on her show or appears in her magazine is intended by her to be accepted as “information.”

Suppose that in some instances, Oprah had business relationships with the diet gurus she touted, but did not reveal them to you, even though she might benefit from endorsing them.

Suppose you determined that after failing at dieting the “Oprah-endorsed” way, you gained even more weight than you lost.

Suppose you knew that becoming even heavier placed you at a greater risk for illness.

How would you go about considering this hypothetical situation?

Clearly, she acknowledges that her “desire and intention” are “to bring information and enlightenment and encourage people in ways that I see fit," not entertain.

Clearly she expects that the “information” you receive will be used by you as does the Norman Lear Center and the CDC (here, too).

Clearly the advice of her chosen experts is wrong, harmful and deadly, IMHO. (See links above)

Bottom line:

it is arguable that fat Oprah,
an objective fitness failure from all angles (and in all of which her butt looks and is big),
chooses the diet experts,
whose messages are heard and/or read by millions,
and who she certainly expects and knows will be listened to,
many of whom are in business with her,
a fact she does not reveal,
and/or who spout impossible to follow diet advice (IMHO),
which result in bigger and fatter failed dieters,
who are at greater risk of illness, suffering and death,
than they would have been had they not listened to Oprah’s experts’ diet advice,
and who may be suffering physically as a result,
and who lost money as a result,
have reason to sue Oprah for
her recklessness, negligence, deceit and intentional misrepresentation.

And there are other claims for recovery that can be made. This approach is just one hypothetical.

It is no stretch to consider that Oprah is responsible for more deaths, injuries and suffering than, say, the current conflict in Iraq.

If you think this is possible, you might want to call the Texas ranchers to see if they will support your lawsuit, possibly a class action.

They just might be up for a rematch.