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Is Oprah's Biography by Kitty Kelley Exploitative?

Are Unauthorized Biographies Exploitative?

An unauthorized biography of Oprah called — what else? — Oprah hits bookstores tomorrow. And despite 850 interviews and three years of research (one spent simply cataloging every interview Oprah has ever given), just publishing an unauthorized bio of Oprah is a scandalous story itself.

On the Today show this morning, author Kitty Kelley tells Matt Lauer of Oprah's impenetrable power, as journalists, TV personalities, and media outlets now refuse interviews with Kitty all fearing the Oprah backlash. Even book publishers (nobody sells books better than Oprah) were afraid to publish the biography; although the very mainstream Crown imprint of Random House eventually took it on. Despite the immediate money the book would bring, publishers, TV shows, and publications know getting on Oprah's bad side is more costly in the long run.

All the noise over Oprah: A Biography raises a question about all unauthorized biographies: Are they exploitative to write or a journalistic service? Especially when the person is as powerful as Oprah.

Join The Conversation
nancita nancita 7 years
I think if you're doing your research (850 interviews) you should be able to write about what you want.
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 7 years
Accurate or not, it's sleazy. It's obvious her only reason for writing this book it to make some money.
chillchic chillchic 7 years
I never liked the idea of an unauthorized biography. It seems very invasive and sleazy. I wouldn't trust it no matter how much "fact-checking" the author did.
Love-and-Sex Love-and-Sex 7 years
Whoops! Thanks for catching that typo. All fixed now.
dexaholic dexaholic 7 years
I said no, because "an author [DOES have] the right to write about anything, just as the subject has the right to not be a part of it", like the option says. But this particular situation to me seems shady, and by denying the author press, they are just creating a greater demand for the book. Maybe not "Oprah demand", but demand nonetheless. Regardless, I won't be reading it. I'm not an Oprah fan.
KadBunny KadBunny 7 years
..yeah, if it's unauthorized I'm almost positive the subject will find at LEAST one thing to disagree with. I'd rather read an autobiography. Besides, while authors do have free reign on their subject matter it's just rude without their approval.
MissSushi MissSushi 7 years
I just don't think they could ever be as accurate if you aren't actually able to speak to the person.
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