I’ve received a number of emails asking why I wasn’t on the Oprah Show that featured other talk show hosts including Montel Williams and Ricki Lake. To put it simply, I was not invited. I guess she was not a fan. Oprah tapes her show in Chicago and in 1990, when I came to town with my show, I never felt welcome there. From the very beginning, the local press was brutal, calling me a prima donna, saying I demanded limos everywhere when in fact I rode my bike to work, or drove my Saturn. Chicago Magazine blindsided me with a scathing article titled “Talking Trash” about what a horrible person I was and to this day I don’t know why. I even contacted the editor and invited him to lunch, asking that he invite the reporter who wrote the lies in the hopes that once they met me, things would change. The reporter had a previous engagement. The press was so brutal, I even drove to the Sun-Times to ask their most vicious columnist, Bob Feder, face-to-face why he was doing this to me. His answer was, “You came to my city and I can write whatever I choose.”
It didn’t end when I left. I recently did a phone interview with a Chicago radio station looking for people who needed money from Jenny’s Heroes and this is what they posted on their website: “A lot of people will remember the Jenny Jones show for an episode that never aired — the one about same-sex crushes; The show that led to one guest killing another. A court found the Jenny Jones Show not liable for the safety of its guests. The show nosedived afterwards. That said, Jenny Jones is giving away $2 million, in relatively small increments, to people she calls “Jenny’s Heroes.” It seemed that even after I left, the local media still hated me.
I met Oprah once at a prime time special taping for Phil Donahue, in fact we shared the same elevator, and I spoke to her, trying to get her up to speed since she missed rehearsal, but she just ignored me and stared straight ahead. I still don’t know why. It can’t be that my show was bad because she has hired several of my former staff members, including my executive assistant. I was never going to write about this but once I started this post, I couldn’t stop. I suppose I needed to vent and I’m sorry to be so negative. The truth is it’s painful to be vilified the way I was (and still am) by a city I grew to love and called my second home. So the Oprah snub is just one more rejection. Life goes on.
Part Two: I was just told that Entertainment Weekly’s Popwatch posted this poll of who was missing from the Oprah photo. But who’s missing from the list? It sucks to not matter. Writer Kerrie Mitchell must be from Chicago.