Madonna has taken all she can. Over the last few weeks she's been subject to intense scrutiny over her decision to adopt a boy from Malawi and now Madonna has taken her case to the highest court in the land: The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Madonna's long-awaited appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show won't be broadcast until tonight but, thanks to one magazine's uncanny ability to ask Oprah's audience members some questions on their way out of the studio, we know that Madonna says the media is to blame for all the negative publicity she's received for adopting David Banda, and not Madonna for the way that she jumped on a celebrity fad, bent international adoption rules a little bit and then moved a boy thousands of miles away from his family. Good job The Oprah Winfrey Show isn't part of the media in any way, isn't it, or we'd all end up getting really confused.
Oprah Winfrey seems to be the woman to run to if you're a celebrity in need of help. Tom Cruise chose Oprah as the outlet to unveil his new 'unsettling nutcase' persona to the world, Jennifer Aniston chose Oprah to tell the world that her reported break-up with Vince Vaughn was a lie that just so happened to coincide with the DVD release of The Break-Up and Oprah Winfrey chose Oprah to tell the world that she wasn't a big old lesbian.
So when Madonna needed somewhere to go to defend herself against criticisms about her adoption of David Banda from Malawi, it was always going to be Oprah Winfrey. Madonna is facing a whirlpool of negativity about the adoption at the moment, from human rights groups to Guy Ritchie to Yohane Banda, the father of David Banda who only just seems to have worked out what 'adoption' actually means.
Sure, Madonna had written a statement about the adoption on her website but, come on, who actually reads stuff on the internet? So – live via satellite from London – Madonna linked up directly into Oprah Winfrey's brain for an adoption conversation. The Madonna Oprah show doesn't go out until tonight, but People magazine employed its age-old 'asking the fawning Oprah audience what the hell happened' trick, and this is what it discovered:
"She's frustrated with the media because she believes it's the pressure of the media that's prompting the father to change his story," says Brook Carter, 24, from Miami… The singer talked about the great lengths she went to in order to follow Malawi's proper adoption procedures and said she got no special treatment, according to audience members. "She said (of Yohane Banda), 'He looked at me straight in the eye and said I'm thankful for giving my son a future and a life because if he stayed with me I would have buried him,' " Carter says.
Overall, the reaction by the Oprah audience to Madonna's plight was sympathetic, although we get the feeling that they'd be sympathetic to a serial rapist Nazi if Oprah asked the right questions and his hair was shiny enough. What may have pushed the Oprah audience onto Madonna's side was when she showed them pictures of Madonna, Guy Ritchie and their children posing with little David Banda. And it certainly seemed to work, as People reports:
"They look like a happy, loving family. You see her two other children have embraced David," says Robin Ayoob, 54, of Philadelphia. "She said she looked in his eyes and had an immediate connection to him," says Jody Goldstein, 40, of Atlanta. Adds Laura Rader, 38, of St. Louis, "She really wanted to help this little boy (who) had no chance at surviving."
So, thanks to Oprah Winfrey, Madonna might just be starting to turn the tide in this whole Malawi adoption public relations war. And that's where Madonna will stay, at least until she unpacks her gruesome leotards and decides to dance around in them in an ill-advised quest for further public acceptance.
[story by Stuart Heritage]