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April 06, 2009

Star Jones On Oprah: Trying To Revive A Career

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Every time I've seen Star Jones since she left "The View," I've thought of how badly she handled the whole weight loss/wedding/leaving "The View" drama. She's a textbook case on how a public figure should not handle such public events in her life.

Last week Oprah Winfrey did a show about celebrities and weight loss which included Star. In the interview, Star finally admitted her dramatic 160 pound weight loss while she was on "The View" was due to gastric bypass surgery. She also said the reason she didn't say so at the time was because she was too emotionally fragile and ashamed to talk about it.

Though I sympathize with Star, my sympathy only goes so far because she had plenty of opportunities to make the entire situation better for herself.

One opportunity Star wasted was having a prominent colleague, Barbara Walters, ready and eager to tell her story with compassion, and not taking advantage of it. That's in addition to ignoring how many viewers would have supported and respected her for coming clean.

Star was not just a public figure, she was someone on a live, daily talk show, whose show was built around its co-hosts talking about their lives. So for one of those women to go through something so public and act like she was too good to talk about it felt like a betrayal to viewers. And if that sounds strong, you gotta remember that daytime viewers are primarily women and very loyal to shows and personalities they like. Viewers are investing their time in you and they expect something in return.

And it's not like Star wasn't warned. After hearing her say in the interview with Oprah that she warned several of her close advisers that she would fire them all if they ever mentioned coming clean about the surgery again, it makes me think those people were savvy media professionals who deserved a better client.

I believe Star when she says she felt ashamed and emotionally fragile. I've struggled with weight all my life and know how cruel people can be. Star's problem however was her perceived arrogance and her evasions.

For example, on Oprah she said, it was never she who claimed she lost weight by "portion control and pilates." Well, maybe not, but I remember watching many episodes of "The View" where Star implied she was losing weight in exactly that way.

Then for her to tell Oprah she never asked her colleagues, Joy Behar, Meredith Vieira, Barbara Walters and Elisabeth Hasselbeck to lie is ridiculous. She may not have said, "lie for me," but that's just splitting hairs. She asked them to keep her confidence and they did. It was only last week on Oprah that she acknowledged what a difficult position that put them in.

Between the weight loss silence and shilling sponsors on "The View" for her wedding, Star began putting the a very large nail in her ABC coffin. She took a hammer to the nail when she shocked ABC, Babs and everyone else when she announced on the air, she was leaving "The View" months before her departure announcement had been planned. Babs then had to go on the air the next day and explain that because of her actions, ABC told Star not to come back at all.

Add to that the talk show rounds Star did later, claiming Barbara and the producers wanted her to lie about why she was leaving and Star dug herself a pretty big career hole.

Now flash forward three years later and a divorced Star is still trying to rebuild her career. She's joined the blogosphere with Positively Star and the Oprah interview is likely a first step at making peace with TV viewers.

The day after the Oprah interview, Babs and the Gabby Girls commented on Star's confessions. Take note of how miffed Joy Behar still appears to be.

Look, don't get me wrong, I know Star's had a tough time, and though I don't especially like her she deserves the chance to try and rebuild her career. She's a perfect example though of what not to do if you're in the public eye.

What do you think?

Related Links:

Heather at Pieces Of Me talks about her own gastric bypass story and how she can relate to Star.

Shrinking Sisters: Star Jones On Oprah

Fellow BlogHer CE Catherine Morgan's post about Valerie Bertinelli and Marie Osmond on that same Oprah episode.

Watching "The View:" They watch "The View" so you don't have to!


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