On her visit to India for a two-part Oprah’s Next Chapter episode that aired in the country over the weekend, Winfrey rubbed many viewers the wrong way with her treatment of the country’s culture and customs.
Segments featuring lavish parties with Bollywood stars and Indian royalty, a visit to a Mumbai slum and a sari fitting with a top designer have been called “myopic, unaware, ignorant and gauche” for their focus as well as for specific comments made by the host, ABC reports:
“Watching the Oprah in India thing on TLC and getting more and more irritated by the minute,” one viewer in India tweeted …
“It’s all the stereotypes and all the clichés the West has, between the elephants and the palaces and the snake charmers and cows,” Aseem Chhabra, a freelance journalist and columnist for the Mumbai Mirror, told ABC News. “That exists in India, but it’s this imagery of India that some people seem to have, and I think I expected a lot more from somebody like Oprah Winfrey.”
A spokeswoman for Harpo, the company that produces “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” said in a statement, “The intention of the program was to explore the beautiful culture and spirit of the country. We enjoyed the time we spent there and were touched by the people who so generously shared their stories for the show.”
Chhabra was not alone in his skepticism, however.
“Myopic, unaware, ignorant and gauche. This was Middle America at its best worst,” a review of the show on Firstpost.com, an online news site based in Mumbai, said.
After being advised to eat with only her right hand, she uses both.
“Oprah, your comment about eating with the hand is really not that big a deal to us; we are used to gross Western ignorance regarding our ancient country,” according to “An open letter to Oprah Winfrey from an Indian who eats with her hand” on the CNN-IBN website.