Oprah Winfrey is speaking out to defend the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, the boarding school she started in South Africa two years ago, which has turned into a weird underage sex cult.
"I have made several mistakes and one of them was being overprotective of the girls, which has led to an impression that the school is isolating them from society," Winfrey told a South African newspaper today.
The school, which doubles as a monument to Winfrey's gargantuan vanity, has been repeatedly rocked by sexual intrigue, a perverse turn of events given Winfrey's own history as a victim of sexual abuse. Ten months after it opened, replete with a beauty salon, a yoga center, 200-thread-count sheets in the dormitories, one of the school's matrons was accused of molesting 15 of the girls. Winfrey vowed to "clean house" and pay more close attention to the school's administration.
Then last month, the school expelled four students and suspended three others for, in the words of a letter reportedly sent to one of the girls' parents, "physical contact of a sexual nature with another pupil on campus, harassment, bullying other girls on campus."
It's a deeply creepy development, given that Winfrey personally selected all of the school's applicants in what amounted to an ABC reality show, where extremely poor young girls trotted out their Dickensian lives for the cameras in the hopes that Winfrey would rescue them from poverty, provide them a chance at a future, and be their Mommy. Instead they were barred from seeing their families and dropped into what sounds like a strange psycho-sexual nightmare.
Winfrey is defending her girls, though, telling the South African paper:
The majority of girls are thriving, really fulfilling the dream and vision I had. They really have exceeded any expectations I had for them.... In spite of everything that's happened, what keeps me inspired and hopeful is the heart of every girl, because they are wonderful, they are magnificent.
Except for the ones I expelled for trying to bully other girls into having sex with them!