A 2004 interview in which Oprah Winfrey questioned the twin child-stars Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen about their eating habits is now triggering backlash at Winfrey in the wake of knowledge Mary-Kate Olsen has battled an eating disorder.
At the time of the interview, rumors of Mary-Kate Olsen having an alleged eating disorder were floating around; she and her sister were 17 at the time of the interview. She checked into rehab later in 2004.
During the interview, Winfrey asked, “I know there’s a new rumor that has recently surfaced has really upset you, right?” After a short pause, Winfrey continued, “You know, the one about eating.”
Ashley Olsen answered, “Yeah, you know people are going to write what they’re going to write. We try not to read the good or the bad because it just kinda comes with the territory. Either you’re too fat, you’re too skinny and people are just gonna write what they —”
Oprah, interrupting, “What size are you, by the way?”
Ashley Olsen’s eyes grew wide before she answered, “Size?” Winfrey stated, “I always like to know —” Ashley Olsen: “I’m really sure —” Winfrey: “You’re not sure?” Mary-Kate then quickly added, “We’re very petite girls,” prompting Winfrey to reply, “Oh, that’s so interesting!”
After the audience laughed, Winfrey continued, “That is so interesting, I’m obsessed with size and you’re like, ‘I really don’t know!”‘
Mary-Kate: “If we were obsessed with our size it’d be, I don’t know, a different story.”
Ashley, looking serious: “We always get things taken in, anyways, because we’re so small we can’t fit into anything. The pants are always way too long, so we always have to get things taken in.”
Criticism of Winfrey’s comments has included comments like these on social media, as The Daily Mail reported:
I know we’re living in different times, but how did they think that was okay!?! [Because] they’re young?
The Olsens keep such a cheery smiley warm and inviting presence and they maintain their positive vibes despite Oprah continuously and obviously disrespecting and trying to trigger them!
Wow! Was Oprah ever called out for this? Inappropriate much?
The Independent reported:
The clip was shared on TikTok, where commenters called out the “problematic” interview. “Yikes @ Oprah for that one,” one comment read. “Ashley answering for MK because she knew she was uncomfortable,” another pointed out. “I know we’re living in different times, but how did they think that was okay!?!” one TikTok user commented. “[Because] they’re young?”
In 2010, Mary-Kate Olsen told Marie Claire, “I think it’s really important to be able to talk when something’s wrong. I learned at a really young age that if you don’t talk about it, it can drive you insane.”
The twins first appeared on TV in ABC’s “Full House” when they were six months old in 1987, trading off playing the character Michelle Tanner. They continued in that part until 1995. When they were six years old, the company Dualstar was established to produce films and video starring the children. In 1995 they appeared in the film “It Takes Two.” Mattel made sets of Mary-Kate and Ashley fashion dolls from 2000 to 2005.
They later created a clothing line for girls in Wal-Mart stores as well as a fashion line titled “The Row.” The Council of the Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) has given “The Row” the Womenswear Designer of the Year Award twice.
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