Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Oprah didn’t want to release the tape that took down Trump’s labor nom

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The dust is starting to settle around the debacle that was Andrew Puzder’s Labor Secretary nomination. The Carl’s Jr. CEO was up for the position in Trump’s cabinet, a spot that seemed all but promised to him in the wake of Betsy DeVos becoming Secretary Of Education despite lacking a rudimentary understanding of the job. But that was before Politico followed up a January 2017 article about Puzder’s alleged abuse against his first wife, Lisa Fierstein, with a video of her appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Fierstein first made claims of domestic abuse in a court proceeding in 1989, which she attested to in front of Oprah’s live studio audience in 1990. That appearance has now been widely distributed, thanks to video obtained by Politico. The TV show wouldn’t release the video to anyone outside of Congress, but one of Fierstein’s fellow guests on the “high-class battered women” panel ended up giving a tape to the publication. Puzder released a joint statement with his current wife and Fierstein, in which they all claimed to now be very good friends, but the damage was done—Puzder withdrew his nomination not long after the video began to make the rounds.


But it turns out helping to topple an empire in the making wasn’t part of the Oprah Winfrey Network’s plans. A report from Jezebel suggests that part of the reason why OWN wouldn’t release the video to the media (despite complying with Congress) is that it recalls the less prestigious days of the show, when there was more sensationalizing of social issues and fewer favorite things. At the time of this writing, neither Winfrey nor anyone else at OWN had commented on any of the proceedings.

[Jezebel, like The A.V. Club, is owned by Univision Communications.]


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