Diversity & TV News

Diversity & TV News: Analysis, Critiques, and Research

Oprah, Tyler Perry, 200 Molested Men, But No Bishop Eddie Long

with 5 comments

Oprah Winfrey devotes three shows in her farewell season to discuss a little talked about issue: men being sexual abuse victims.  It is an issue that sparked major headlines over the last few months. 

Oprah’s show wouldn’t normally fall into the category of a news show for me, but I made the exception for a couple of reasons.  First: a number of television stations around the country localized the story in their markets, like WTVD-TV in Raleigh-Durham, NC.  Two: this story hits on a topic that is seldom told about men and especially men of color.  Third: this topic is related to the recent lawsuits filed against Atlanta area mega-church pastor, Bishop Eddie Long for allegedly having sexual relationships with young men he ministered in his church.  This topic was heavily covered by major media outlets when it broke because of Bishop Long’s global ministry.    

The first show aired in this series featured Tyler Perry, a well-known media mogul, sharing his stories of being physically, sexually, and verbally abused as a child.   Perry can’t contain his emotions as he talks about being abused and how it changed his life. 

The Queen of Talk gathered 200 men who were victims of molestation and/or sexual abuse at some point during their lives for the second show.  You can view the show on Oprah’s site by clicking on this link.    The men shared stories about how their fathers, family friends, and spiritual leaders sexually abused them. 

The third installment from Oprah brings back the same 200 men along with those who have shared in their pain, such as wives or mothers.  This show focuses on how the abused men have continued to live with the damage caused by being molested. 

I understand the inherit difficulties in covering these types of stories on the local news level.  In order to tell an effective and compelling story you  need to hear from the victims.  You also must be aware of the allegation aspect of these stories, because every victim isn’t a victim.  The stories are told too many times in the rapid-fire mode:  “Teacher charged with sexually assaulting a student.  Get shocked parents’ reaction.” And that’s about it.  But, from watching the two Oprah episodes, I see there are many areas that need to be addressed.  You can look at the short-term and long-term effects on the victims.  The education side can include ways to identify predators, how to teach kids to always communicate what’s happening, and methods for parents to better help their victimized children.  

Without having background knowledge of the Harper Studio story selection meeting, I can only speculate on this next part. 

I find it highly inconceivable that the Bishop Eddie Long sexual allegation case as reported by CBS News below didn’t make its way into the discussion.

 The mega-church pastor filed court papers recently denying the claims of the 4 young men who say he used his spiritual authority and lavish gifts to get them to have sex with him.  Here’s one account from an alleged victim reported by WAGA-TV in Atlanta, Georgia.

I can only assume that Oprah and Tyler Perry felt they were speaking out against the alleged acts of Bishop Long based on the timing of the shows.  It seems like this is Oprah’s way of speaking out against what Bishop Long is accused of without mentioning his case or name specifically.  I would think that giving the accusers in the Bishop Long case, who’ve already spoken to the media a chance to speak out on her show could shake up the blind faith of those who support the bishop.  That blind faith seems to foster an atmosphere in which victims don’t feel comfortable or safe telling their stories. Some of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church members said in interviews that they believe without a shadow of a doubt the pastor didn’t do anything wrong. This perpetuates the idea that certain people are above reproach.  So this makes it harder for victims to speak out against their predators.  CNN’s Don Lemon actually admitted to being a sexual abuse victim while interviewing young members of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church who were adamantly supporting Bishop Eddie Long. 

A great pastor/teacher/coach/doctor/officer is capable of both great and horrendous acts.  So, if Oprah would have allowed Bishop Long’s accusers to speak out then she could have helped combat one of the very things this series of shows says all the sexual assault victims face: fear of sharing their stories because of shame or some type of retribution. 

I’m  glad Oprah shined a light on this topic, but a brighter one could have made a bigger impact on her audience.

Why do you think Oprah left Bishop Eddie Long out of the discussion?

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5 Responses

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  1. I think the Eddie Long piece was left out bc the issue is bigger than him. I didn’t see any of those episodes but I would venture to say that this was a show more for the victims and not the accused. More of a time of healing and open discussion rather than giving any kind of voice to the criminals. Plus, if she spoke to the men from the case she probably would have given Long the opportunity to speak too. Just my two cents.

    Ms. Prince

    November 14, 2010 at 5:04 PM

    • Thank you for weighing in on this topic. In the second show, Oprah mentioned she asked one of the victim’s abuser to come onto the show, but she later decided against it. Oprah did say she wanted the show to be about the victims story. So, if that was her decision the same could have been applied to those who’ve accused Bishop Eddie Long.

      professorkcoleman

      November 14, 2010 at 6:31 PM

  2. I think your logic is very bias to say the least. I agree that topics like this should be openly expound upon. However, not in the manner in which you are explaining it ( as if Mr. Long is already guilty). This show was mainly about setting one self free from the prison of daunting facts/truths/haunted memories of the survivors pasts that dominated their minds and innocence; and how they can or have overcome the hurdles. The intent of this show WAS NOT based on running behind the next big story or jumping on the media’s band wagon to air what’s popular based on 1/2 truth, you can get that from TMZ and your local news station these days. So then this leads me to ask, DO we know ALL THE FACTS and truth behind Bishop Eddie Long case and accusers? No. All we know is what the accusers’ attorney and the accusers have SOLD ( yes SOLD) to the media for absolute truth (which has some serious red flags). Since I am in the legal/justice field, I can’t help but look at this entire case from a clear-unbiased legal standpoint, If we are really honest, has Bishop Long been treated fairly in the media in exposing his facts and story, or his side of truth? NO! Has he been given a FAIR opportunity to defend his character and integrity without pre mediated conclusion and judgment? NO! Oprah is smart enough to know that you do not exploit a sensitive topic such as this, on 1/2 truth or force feed the media- tampered evidence/facts/assumptions, or fill any loop holes in a case with your own conclusions without SEEING AND HEARING ALLLLLLLLL the facts. She would never Give the accusers or the accused, air time based on “they say, she say or he say” facts just for marketing and ratings purposes. By doing so YOU poison the healing affect that topic can have on the person who really is in need of it.

    Dee

    April 26, 2011 at 3:59 PM

    • also Tyler Perry and Oprah openly said this was NOT about any pastor, church, etc., but TYLER freeing himself from his past. Tyler, Oprah, and many of us with an investigative mindset and background by occupation, has stated there are TWO MANY loop holes in the accusers stories, from the timeline to the reported acts— that are not adding up. Furthermore, I find it very strange 1. for the accusers and their attorney to try this case in the media for public opinion instead of in the court of law where THIS belongs, ( THAT IS consider to be Unethical practices in LAW), as well as the attorney using this case, personal career publicity and marketing 2. I find it even more damaging and questionable, that three of the young men were caught on camera and taped phone conversations contradicting their stories & timelines, motives, and ages of when ” the so called sex alluring started, as well as 1 of the 4 young men who is named to be the ring leader in the lawsuit was caught on camera with posession of stolen goods ( meaning he was stealing from the Church office where Bishop Long is Pastor). 3. The tampered/ manipulated/exaggerated evidence ( i.e. photos, trips, etc.) .. and the list goes on… BUT hey—–we will find out real soon! I am only interesting in the REAL truth, not this polluted evidence- man made bias so called facts aired on TV for ratings. Furthermore, as many said, the Authentic TRUTH has a way of rising and shining…. one way or the other truth will be revealed. In this case I hope expeditiously!

      Dee

      April 26, 2011 at 4:16 PM

  3. I have to agree with Dee comments .

    Here are my long winded thoughts.

    While the topic does need to be discuss intelligently and with wisdom out in the open , the person who wrote this article, is portraying Eddie long as guilty in some way without even having full facts. You can not report on a story without having FULL facts & substantional evidence, which Oprah Winfrey is skilled at knowing, that why she has not done this, also this is the problem I have with the news, they manipulate the truth and then call it fair and balance! Also to use or mention Eddie Long’s name or show his face in a reported story, about molestation, when his accusers remain questionable, the FCC filed fines on local news stations in Atlanta for not reporting FULL facts and balance reporting on this case, as well as a court Judge fined a misconduct breech on the accusers’ attorney ( which so happens to be the same attorney who tried to prosecute Michael Jackson & his similar cases, hmm, lucky pick? Not) for unethical law conduct according the bar association— ARE ALL grounds for a SWEET winning lawsuit against Hapro Studios says so by Federal Communications Commission (FCC). See its like this, we can draw a final conclusion on Hitler because of the solid evidence against his horrific acts ( i.e. horrific Jewish concentrations camps, the hate speeches recorded by Hitler, admitting his intentions to wiping out anyone who doesn’t have blue eyes, millions of testimonies by survivors, tapes of German soldiers killing, raping, and capturing Jews under Hilter’s command, etc.). We conclude Hitler was indeed a monster. However, in this case with eddie long, what can ANYONE conclude based on a cut and paste photo of Mr. Long done in photo shop that was released to the media? As to say what? Really, who do they think they are fooling, ( I guess the bias people who already hated him with NO legitimated reasons, the drama- filled, the easily manipulated, the blind, and the stupid). Also, I think someone would take into offense you calling those who support Mr. Long, as “Eddie Long followers”, whom have blinded faith”. As if he is a cult leader. I happen to support his innocence, and I’m not even a Christian, nor do I attend his church or any church for that matter. The reason people are saying now that he is not guilty or capable of THIS act is not because of who he is, or he being above approach, or perfections ( please no one has those) it’s the consistency of his actions, character, integrity for over 30 years. For example, If someone said, you did this or that to them— I would first examine your life, your behavior, your actions, your words, etc. and if it is far from the person they are portraying you to be then it’s a wrap, I won’t believe it, especially if I have not examine both sides to the story, very carefully. Perfect ? no, but there are something’s we should know about people—if lied on or accused – it just don’t fit their profile. For others reasons, I have been paying close attention to the accusers ( the 4 boys) recent interviews on abc, and CNN, now either they are stupid or the most dangerous narcissistic liars history has ever witness. Little by little they have changed their stories, which contradictions or jeopardizes their lawsuit in the first place. Even some news reporters are taking note their body language, changes in wording, the shiftiness, and unnecessary defensiveness, and cover ups. The More they talk the more we are noticing their agenda, their motives, drama filled act, to try to cover their last contradiction or exaggeration. It makes you wonder was this for personal revenge or money. I have never known a victim who put a price tag on misery, like they are doing 30 millions dollars each for damages? I am survivor of abuse, so when they mentioned this, I was disgusted. As a survivor, who cares about money, you just want your abuser to get the justice they deserve. I would want them to go to jail. How can you put a price on pain? Like it was said, there is just too many loop holes man. Just too many.

    Carl

    April 26, 2011 at 6:05 PM


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