Oprah Winfrey is very rich. Howard Stern is also very rich. Oprah was/is the first Black woman billionaire. Stern is close to being a billionaire too, if he’s not already – his contracts with SiriusXM are worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Oprah has homes in Hawaii and Montecito and probably more? Howard Stern has a huge apartment in New York, a huge spread in the Hamptons and a lot more. They both have working class origins and they are both uniquely American success stories. They should not get involved in a pissing contest about whose wealth is more embarrassing or showy. Oprah is just sitting in Montecito, enjoying her mansion and her kitchen garden while Stern seethes. Apparently, he follows her on Instagram and he thinks she’s flaunting her wealth inappropriately.
Howard Stern is taking Oprah Winfrey to task over showing off her wealth on social media. During the Nov. 28 episode of “The Howard Stern Show” on SiriusXM (via Mediaite), the radio host said that “Oprah’s not embarrassed by her wealth at all” and somewhat lacks self-awareness considering she frequently posts about her wealthy lifestyle despite people struggling out there in the real world.
“It’s f–king mind blowing when you follow her on Instagram,” Stern said. “You see her estates, her gardens, the people who service her and, you know…She’s got servants and, like, people cooking and it’s f–king wild. She knows how to be rich…She kind of likes to show it off, which is something I’m not comfortable with. I don’t think that people should show off their wealth.”
Stern’s radio co-host Robin Quivers pushed back against Stern, claiming Oprah is merely offering a window into her life and “not showing off.”
“Well you gotta be a little self-aware and know that there are people struggling out there, Robin. You got to,” Stern said. “You gotta kind of think about people who don’t have — to eat. You know what I’m saying? I mean, come on. You gotta be a little bit aware of this sh-t… I make a good living, and I’m having trouble watching Oprah. I go, wow. Look what’s going on over there? Her estate is unbelievable. When she goes shopping, she goes shopping in her backyard cause everything is growing back there. There’s a farm back there.”
Later in the episode, Stern was a bit more complimentary toward Oprah when discussing her annual tradition of inviting students from her South African school, The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, to her home for Thankgiving.
“The girls, they are so sweet,” Stern said. “They — I think they believe Oprah’s God because let me tell you, she provides, she gives them an education. She gives them meals, don’t ask. They love her. And it, it’s impressive. I gotta be honest. I mean, you know, it’s real charity work.”
People are already yelling at Stern for these comments, especially the part about Oprah’s backyard farm. Having a kitchen garden or a small farm isn’t especially elite – for generations, tons of low-income or middle-class people had vegetable gardens or small working farms. In recent decades, the idea of a “backyard kitchen garden” has come to represent a certain kind of socioeconomic elitism though. I think there are worse ways for Oprah to spend her money than “maintaining a small farm in her backyard” and “paying people to cook for her and maintain her farm.” Plus, if you’re following Oprah on social media, you want to see how she lives – she’s not “flaunting” her lifestyle anymore or any less than most Instagram influencers or “people who are good at Instagram.” It’s aspirational, not a documentary on the Great Depression.
And yes, there’s a racial element to this as well. Stern is an intelligent man most of the time, but he has a racial bias here, of “how dare a Black woman be rich and live well.”
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Instagram.
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