Grammy-winning singer Seal blasted Oprah Winfrey in a searing post to his Instagram account Thursday, accusing the billionaire media mogul and potential 2020 presidential candidate of being “part of the problem” in Hollywood’s culture of sexual harassment and abuse.
The 54-year-old “Kiss from a Rose” singer called out Winfrey for her relationship with disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of harassing and abusing dozens of women over a decades-long career in Hollywood.
Winfrey made two films with Weinstein’s involvement, including 2013’s Lee Daniels’s The Butler and 2007’s The Great Debaters, and can be seen in online photos embracing the fallen mogul.
“Oh I forgot, that’s right… you’d heard the rumors but you had no idea he was actually serially assaulting young starry-eyed actresses who in turn had no idea what they were getting into,” Seal wrote on his Instagram account. “My bad.”
The singer included a meme of Winfrey and Weinstein that accused her of being “part of the problem for decades,” and captioned the post with the hashtag, “#SanctimoniousHollywood.”
Winfrey fueled speculation that she would make a run for the presidency in 2020 after delivering a fiery acceptance speech Sunday at the Golden Globes, during which she spoke about the #MeToo movement to end sexual abuse and said a “new day is on the horizon.”
The speech sparked calls from celebrities and other media figures for Winfrey to run, and within a day, sources had told CNN’s Brian Stelter that the media mogul, talk show host, and actress was “actively thinking” about running.
A poll released Wednesday found Winfrey with a significant advantage over President Donald Trump in a head-to-head matchup.
However, a significant number of social media users had also drawn attention to Winfrey’s prior relationship with Weinstein, with many circulating photos of the pair on Twitter following the speech with the hashtag, “#OprahKnew.” Others questioned Winfrey’s handling of the scandal surrounding her girls’ school in South Africa in 2007, when a teacher was accused of sexually molesting several girls.
On Wednesday, Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane also questioned Winfrey’s presidential ambitions, writing that a Trump-Winfrey matchup in 2020 would be “troublingly dystopian.”
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum