NBC has retracted and apologized for a tweet declaring Oprah Winfrey “our future president.”
Just after Sunday night’s Golden Globes began, the network’s official Twitter handle stirred controversy by fawning over Winfrey, the ceremony’s recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille Award. “Nothing but respect for OUR future president,” the post read, with a screenshot of Oprah in her front-row seat attached. The tweet was a play on the popular meme that sprung up last year after a Twitter user posted photos of herself cleaning up Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which had been vandalized. “Nothing but respect for MY president,” the user wrote.
NBC deleted the tweet the next morning and issued an apology. “Yesterday a tweet about the Golden Globes and Oprah Winfrey was sent by a third party agency for NBC Entertainment in real time during the broadcast,” the statement read. “It is in reference to a joke made during the monologue and not meant to be a political statement. We have since removed the tweet.” (The original tweet can be accessed here, via Wayback Machine.)
Winfrey was pictured in the since-deleted NBC tweet laughing at a bit Seth Meyers performed in his opening monologue. “Oprah while I have you, in 2011 I told some jokes about our current president at the White House Correspondents Dinner — jokes about how he was unqualified to be president, and some say that night convinced him to run,” Meyers cracked. “And if that’s true I want to say, Oprah, you will never be president! You do not have what it takes to be president.”
NBC drew swift backlash, particularly from the political right, for implicitly (if humorously) endorsing an Oprah Winfrey presidential campaign. “In case anyone had any doubts about where the media stands this should take care of it,” Donald Trump Jr. tweeted Monday morning. “The bias against @realDonaldTrump is now so obvious they have simply given up hiding it. Can you trust anything they say at this point?”
Later Sunday night, Winfrey’s galvanizing acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille award drew speculation that the media mogul could be mounting a 2020 presidential run. On Monday morning, CNN’s Brian Stelter reported that she is “actively” considering running after being privately urged by several confidantes.