After theGrio’s entertainment editor Chris Witherspoon’s interview with Oprah Winfrey about her upcoming film The Butler aired, various conservatives attacked the media mogul for her comparison of Trayvon Martin’s death to that of Emmett Till’s.
Martin, an unarmed teenager, was shot and killed by George Zimmerman in February of 2012. Zimmerman was charged with second degree murder and plead not guilty, arguing self-defense. A Florida jury, composed of 6 women, 5 of whom are white, acquitted Zimmerman of all charges last month.
Chicago native Till was brutally murdered at the age of 14 in the mid-1950s for whistling at a white woman, while visiting family in Mississippi. His death spurred the civil rights movement. The two men responsible for his death were found not guilty by an all-white Mississippi jury.
During her sit down with theGrio, Oprah shared some of her thoughts on Trayvon martin:
It’s so easy during this time… Trayvon Martin paralleled Emmett Till, let me just tell ya. In my mind. Same thing. You can get stuck in that and not allow yourself to move forward and see how far we’ve come. Look at the butler’s life. Look at that opening scene, the hanging… and then the end. We need to give ourselves a round of applause. In this country, with all of its injustices, look at what we’ve been able to do in the span of one man’s lifetime.
The upcoming film is based on the real life of Eugene Allen, who was a White House butler over the course of eight presidencies.
Jesse Watters, fill-in anchor on Fox News’ The Five, denounced Oprah’s comments. “It was a big missed opportunity for Oprah Winfrey,” he said. “I was expecting her to kind of take the high road and elevate the conversation and to bring the country forward and add a little unity here. But instead she made this atrocious analogy and I am a little disappointed in Oprah.”
On Hannity, Fox News’ Sean Hannity and guests discussed Till being killed because he was a black boy who whistled at a white women, while the Trayvon Martin case was not about race.
“Everybody involved [in the Trayvon Martin case], even Trayvon Martin’s family and attorney said it wasn’t about race,” Hannity said.
Hannity’s guest, Michael Meyers, of the NY Civil Rights Coalition, called Oprah’s comments “racially offensive” and said that she is “engaging in idiocy and racial poison.”
Conservative TV host Glenn Beck also shared his thoughts on Oprah’s view, calling it “unbelievably wrong.”
“It’s offensive, and I would go so far as to call it evil to compare these events,” Beck said.
Follow Carrie Healey on Twitter @CarrieHeals.