Should Oprah Battle Tell-All Book—or Ignore It?

Power publicists and A-list actions offer advice for Winfrey in the wake of Kitty Kelley's unauthorized biography

By Leslie Gornstein Apr 14, 2010 8:08 PMTags
Oprah WinfreyKevin Winter/Getty Images

Why isn't Oprah standing up for herself against this tell-all book?
—ClassyLady, New Orleans, via the Answer B!tch inbox

Let's put it this way: When a tell-all about Brangelina came out last year, it had some pretty salacious dish in it. Can you recall any of it right now, without the help of Sweet Lady Google?


Now, what does the unauthorized bio of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have to do with Kitty Kelley's tell-all about Oprah Winfrey?

Well, this:

After Ian Halperin's book Brangelina Exposed came out last year, the couple, which is, for the record, a pair of amazing media manipulators, chose a genius ploy.

They said nothing.

And now nobody can remember a blessed thing in that book. (There were some decent revelations in there, too: jealousy, screaming matches, pot.)

So. Oprah.

Don't expect her to feel any sort of real need to comment on Kelley's book, either. She simply doesn't need to, crisis PR people tell me—especially because, aside from some weird bombshells like her dating John Tesh, there really just isn't much in there to talk about.

"I would advise her to say, 'No comment,' " Lizzie Grubman tells me. "She does not need to justify anything."

Agreed, other PR experts tell me.

"I would advise she take the higher road, ignore the Kelley bio and defer media questions to counsel," says Rich Schineller, who says he worked with Sean Combs during his Puffy days.

There are some other moves Oprah could make:

She may not say anything herself, but she may leak some tsk-tsks through her minions. When Andrew Morton wrote an exposé on Tom Cruise, his lawyer kind of freaked out, at least, relatively.

"This is just riddled with falsehoods," Bert Fields spat to E! News. "This man, Andrew Morton, never talked to any of the important people in Tom's life. You cannot even call this a legitimate biography."

Madonna kind of used a similar tactic, or perhaps an approach best described as somewhere in between the Brangelina approach and that of Cruise. When the singer's brother published an unauthorized tell-all, she said nothing at first. Then her publicist emerged briefly from her bubble of fabulousness to add: "Madonna has not cooperated with any biography about herself."

Of course, Oprah could pull the most amazing power play of all time, and have Kelley on her show. It would be a stroke of genius—if it were to happen.

And, experts tell me, it ain't likely. But you'd watch that, right?


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