Friday, May 20, 2011

Oprah and James Frey

Earlier this week I watched the James Frey interview on The Oprah Show and found myself listening intently to Mr. Frey as he answered questions as a follow-up to his previous interview when Oprah got on him for "lying" to her and to the public years ago on her show. As we know, the fallout was from his memoir A Million Little Pieces, in which investigators discovered that pivotal elements of the book were untrue. Oprah said that her previous position when she interviewed him was how dare you, as opposed to let me hear your side, and that people saw it as a lashing, which she later agreed. She admitted to coming from her ego, and said that defending her ego was wrong. I must say I felt some compassion for Oprah, and for James Frey, as he appeared to be humble and accountable, now moving on with his life as a writer and publisher.

I'm curious as to your thoughts about the follow up show. I'm not so sure it needed to be two parts, and I wondered if Oprah needed to make the apology as a way of resting her soul, also perhaps why she didn't just do this privately with Mr. Frey, but I can absolutely appreciate her overall admittance in stating that she felt she showed a lack of compassion and was sorry for the way she expressed her feelings vs. her thoughts. And I must say that as a fellow author, I was more interested in this interview than I would've been if I didn't write for a living. It was an example of what can happen when an individual's life changes and he/she gets caught up, and neglects their own level of integrity for stardom. Mr. Frey deceived his readers big time!

If you caught the show, did you think Oprah was sincere and that James Frey was being honest? Should this issue have been put to rest privately in your opinion?


Charles Gramlich said...

I actually didn't watch it. I have no respect for Frey.

G said...

From what I understand, James Frey runs a book mill, in which he hires scores of wannabe writers to write books for him.

Shauna Roberts said...

I didn't see either of the shows. But I have no respect for someone who makes up stuff when writing nonfiction. If the truth wasn't exciting enough and he needed to make up stuff to make it interesting, he and his publisher should have marketed it as fiction. I agree with Oprah's first reaction, that he is a liar. I see no reason for her to apologize; Frey is the one who needs to apologize. He owes everyone who bought his book an apology for misrepresenting it.

I believe people deserve second chances. Even so, I will not be reading anything by him, ever. His career is founded on the success of a fictional "memoir" and the notoriety that followed its exposure. I lump him with Heidi Fleisch and others who build careers on having done something wrong or illegal.

Liane Spicer said...

Didn't see any of the shows but read about the fracas years ago.

According to reports, he wrote it as fiction and it was his publisher who suggested they market it as memoir. It was a cold, calculated business decision and getting caught was the problem for them, not the deception.

I won't be reading anything by him either. As for the Oprah angle - she handed him a platform he didn't deserve and by continuing to feature him on her show she continues to support his ill-gotten high profile - and his pocket.

Liane Spicer said...

Think I should clarify...

Oprah handed him a platform he didn't deserve, but she did it unwittingly the first time. The second time was an error in judgement. This latest is just too much, whatever her motivation.