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Oprah Winfrey is shutting down rumors that there’s a looming issue between her and Taraji P. Henson amid the actress’s comments about pay disparity and less-than-stellar treatment while filming The Color Purple.

“Taraji will tell you herself that I’ve been the greatest champion of this film,” said the mega mogul.

THR Presents Live: The Color Purple

Source: Arturo Holmes / Getty

On Sunday, Oprah was asked to address online speculation surrounding her and the actress who’s been open about being underpaid and undervalued as a Black woman. Most recently, Henson said that she “fought” and secured some things for herself and her fellow Black female co-stars like car service instead of rental cars during filming. She also previously said that she almost walked away from the role of Shug Avery while noting that she hasn’t got a “raise” in Hollywood since 2018.

After hearing the award winner’s words, several people took umbrage with Oprah who produced the film, appeared in the original, is a billionaire, and accused her of mistreating Henson and her The Color Purple co-stars.

According to Oprah however, that’s simply untrue.

“I would just like to say about this whole Taraji thing … I heard I was trending yesterday,” she told Entertainment Tonight’s Kevin Frazier on the carpet of the Golden Globes.

THR Presents Live: The Color Purple

Source: Arturo Holmes / Getty


She went on to say that while she was not in charge of the budget (Warner Bros. was) she stepped in to help.

“People are saying that I was not supporting Taraji. Taraji will tell you herself that I’ve been the greatest champion of this film. Championing not only the behind the scenes projection but also everything that everybody needed. So whenever I heard that there was something that someone needed, I’m not in charge of the budget because that’s Warner Brothers you know that’s the way the studio system works.”

She added,

“We as producers, everybody gets their salary everybody is negotiated by your team. And so, whenever I heard there was an issue or there was a problem, there was a problem with a cars or the problem with their food, I would step in and do whatever I could to make it right. And I believe that she would even vouch for that and say that is true.”


She also responded to a social media video that made its rounds and further fueled allegations of beef between them.

In it, people said that the body language between the talk show host and Henson seemed “off,” but Oprah shut that down.

“I am all for everybody being the greatest and rising to meet the rising of their own life,” she told ET. “There was something online about us being separated at the top of the Empire State Building. On that particular day, we were so cold so I don’t know what kind of body language people were talking about. I was literally just trying to stay warm and that was the fourth thing we had done. There’s no validity to there being a thing between Taraji and I.”


She echoed that sentiment to her best friend, CBS Mornings show host Gayle King, and labeled it “disturbing.”


Oprah & the Cast of "The Color Purple" Light the Empire State Building in Celebration of the Premiere

Source: Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty

Hit the flip to see what she said.

While chatting with Gayle ahead of the Golden Globes, Oprah didn’t hold back.


“It’s so disturbing to me,” she said while standing alongside Fantasia and Danielle Brooks. “Why is my name even in this conversation?! Why is my name in this conversation? ‘Cause I have just been the champion for everybody!” said a perturbed Oprah.

“The thing that is so upsetting to me is that … something went viral where they’re analyzing us on top of the Empire State Building,” she added. “We were cold! It was cold. That was the fourth thing we had done that day.”

She went on to address Taraji’s needs that she cared for while filming including the rental car issue.

“I heard that Taraji was upset because she had been asked to [use] a rental car,” said Oprah. “I personally called Toby Emmerich, who was at the time the head of Warner Bros., and he said, ‘Well, that means we have to do cars for everybody.’ And I said, ‘Then we do cars for everybody. And if it’s necessary, I will pay for the cars myself.’ He goes, ‘Well, we don’t want you to do that.’


She continued,

“So that was one thing, trailers were another thing, food was another thing. And everything got handled.”


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