Sunglasses-gate: Was Oprah throwing shade?


An online video promoting an interview with Oprah Winfrey on Māori Television is causing debate after the talk show queen interrupted the chat to take off her sunglasses.

Native Affairs associate producer Aroha Awarau started the interview with Winfrey in Māori when she realised she still had her sunglasses on and stopped the interview to take them off.

“That was rude of her” posted one viewer on the network’s Facebook page.

“Yip very rude indeed,” another replied. Māori Television was asked to take down the clip by a viewer.

Appearing on Kawekōrero Reporters, Awarau says he’s surprised of the backlash and insists Oprah was not rude. He was impressed with her efforts to pronounce his name and other Māori words correctly. He says viewers need to put the 15-second clip into context.

“Oprah made an effort to respect the language and the culture. In order for her to continue that she took her sunglasses off before the interview started,” says Awarau.

He says Māori Television’s social media team chose the clip because it was a candid look at television interviews.

The media icon was in New Zealand last year to shoot the Disney film A Wrinkle in Time, with her friend and director Ava DuVernay. The pair granted Māori Television a New Zealand TV exclusive, which will be shown on Native Affairs on Monday.

Winfrey told Native Affairs that she loves New Zealand so much, that she found it hard to leave. She plans to return in January to celebrate her 65th birthday.

“This is a blessed land that god shows off here. It not just takes your breath away, it’s your breath to be taken away,” she says.

Watch the clip here: