Oprah wanted to get Elliot Page interview right to make up for past mistakes on trans issues

Patrick Kelleher May 6, 2021
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Elliot Page and Oprah WInfrey

Elliot Page has recorded an interview with Oprah Winfrey for Apple TV+. (Apple)

Oprah Winfrey has said she was “nervous” about her interview with Elliot Page because she wanted to make sure she got it right.

The talkshow legend recently sat down with Elliot Page for a pre-recorded interview released on Apple TV+ to discuss his transition and the challenges facing trans youth today.

During a discussion with Nick Adams, GLAAD’s director of transgender representation, Oprah revealed that she did extensive research before her momentous interview with Elliot Page.

Oprah said she was “so grateful” to both Adams and GLAAD for speaking extensively with her prior to the interview.

“I just wanted to share with everyone that I did a lot of homework and preparation before my interview with Elliot Page, had at least an hour’s conversation with [Adams] and I watched the movie Disclosure,” Oprah said.

Oprah revealed that her research informed some of her creative choices for the Page interview. She told Adams that she asked Elliot for permission to use archival footage of his appearance on her talkshow when he was promoting Juno.

However, she said they “specifically” decided not to show any archival footage of Page on the red carpet at the Oscars – an experience he told Oprah was traumatic because of the pressure to wear feminine clothes.

Oprah wanted to get the Elliot Page interview right because she got it wrong in the past

Over the course of a wide-ranging discussion, Adams and Oprah discussed how cis people can become active allies to the trans community, while they also discussed the need to focus on stories of trans joy.

At the tail end of their discussion, Adams and Oprah reflected on the huge strides that have been made in representation of gay, lesbian, bisexual and other queer characters on television in the last 20 years.

Reflecting on the backlash that Ellen DeGeneres faced when she came out as gay in 1997, Oprah said: “Because I was a part of that episode and had Ellen on the show, I got those threats too,” telling Adams that it was the “worst hate mail” she had ever received.

“We literally had to take people off the switchboard because of the vitriol that was coming through, so we have made progress.”

She continued: “I just want to thank you and thank GLAAD for your support in helping me with this interview. I was actually more nervous about this interview than anything because I wanted to get it right, since I was on the poster for getting it wrong for the trailer for Disclosure.”

Adams told Oprah that some of her talkshow segments in the 90s that dealt with trans issues was part of a wider culture of stigma on the circuit.

He also heaped praise on Oprah for her 2015 interview with Janet Mock and for her discussion with Page, saying she has shown that she is “learning all the time”.

Oprah replied: “I really appreciated Laverne [Cox] acknowledging that, watching me in the ’90s and then watching that interview with Janet Mock and hopefully now with Elliot, hopefully you can see that I wanted to do better and I wanted to help everybody else to do better, and we thank you in GLAAD for leading us on that path.”



Related topics: Elliot Page, Oprah Winfrey

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