Since her star-studded sendoff on her talk show's final week, Oprah Winfrey has hit more snags than Kate Middleton's pantyhose. After her volume button went mute in May, the queen of chat has been sued for stealing someone's trademark and snubbed by haughty Hollywood types for not being "one of us."
If that weren't enough bad luck for the Dr. Phil star maker, her OWN network began floundering so badly she had to appoint herself CEO.
Here's a rundown of Oprah's rotten luck since her final show:
Oprah Sued for Copyright Infringement
In a David vs. Goliath lawsuit, a New Jersey self-help guru is suing Oprah Winfrey and her Harpo Studios for lifting the acronym OYP. Simone Kelly-Brown -- who heads a company called Own Your Power Communications, Inc. -- claims she came up with the powerful acronym and phrase first. Ironically, the acronym stands for "Own Your Power," and the lawsuit is about who -- if anyone -- owns the copyright for the phrase.
In what may be a bit of a stretch, the lawsuit also accuses Oprah of copying her company's concept of helping people "live (their) best life" using "self-awareness and motivational communication," although life coaches in almost every town tout this self-actualization service.
Oprah Snubbed for Getting Do-Gooder Oscar
Color them green, but not everyone in the movie industry is happy about Oprah being awarded the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for her philanthropy. One film critic asked facetiously: "She's in the motion picture industry?" Another cynic sniped: "Is this just another way for the academy to continue to grovel for TV ratings?" The critics may have a point since Oprah has always been linked with the small screen -- not the big one -- despite such notable exceptions as "The Color Purple."
Still, the caustic race comments had to hurt, especially the subtle (and not-so-subtle) suggestion that the world's most powerful woman was an affirmative action pick to make up for the paltry number of black people nominated for Oscars last year.
Oprah Forced to Take the Reins at OWN
After kicking OWN CEO Christina Norman to the curb in May, Oprah recently anointed herself head honchette of her cable TV channel. The Wall Street Journal reported the decision came down after "several management shake-ups" and "mediocre ratings," noting this past spring OWN's ratings had sometimes sunk lower than the ailing Discovery Health channel it replaced.
Despite the setbacks, betting against Oprah to bounce back is a long shot. With her new take-charge attitude at OWN, army of attorneys to handle her lawsuit and plenty of movie star buddies who think she's the bomb, Oprah's obstacles may soon seem like mere pot holes on her yellow brick road of success.
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- Oprah Winfrey