CHICAGO, Ill. — Oprah Winfrey apologized to Robin Givens on Friday’s episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” over how she dealt with a comment made by the star’s ex, former boxer Mike Tyson, last month.
“I was really hurt, really, really hurt,” Givens told Winfrey of the TV show host’s and her audience’s reaction to the boxer’s October “Oprah” show comments about the actress’ 1998 Barbara Walters interview. Tyson previously claimed on Oprah’s show that Givens lied during the interview and he added, “At that particular moment, I truly wanted to sock her, but I didn’t do it,” as the “Oprah” audience laughed.
Givens, who is a spokesperson for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, said the reaction was difficult to take.
“I just wanted you… When he said ‘I’ve socked her before,’ to say, ‘That’s not right!’ And it wasn’t right and it was painful,” Givens said. “There are so many women like me out there… if you hear laughter about it, it lightens it.”
Although Winfrey tried to explain what the mood was like that day in her studio, she apologized to Givens for what happened.
“In that moment, I didn’t know – the audience laughed because they were uncomfortable, and the word ‘sock,’ you think of a cartoon character, they weren’t laughing at you,” Winfrey responded. “I should have said something, ‘This isn’t funny.’ I regretted… that moment. To you and every woman who’s ever been hit, I feel that I did not handle that as well as I should have – I apologize to you, and to every woman in that situation, for not being sharp enough.”
The subject of domestic violence has been a hot topic on “Oprah” recently, with Winfrey feuding with Chris Brown after he said he was upset she did not help him out following his assault on Rihanna in February, and for doing a show on domestic violence not long after the incident.
And more recently, Winfrey shelved an interview with BeBe Winans after coming under fire for taping an interview with the gospel singer, who is facing domestic assault charges. The show with Winans will not air until the abuse charges are resolved, a rep for “Oprah” announced earlier this month.
“Rihanna said it quite well, she said, ‘You know what I did not cause this,’ and you know what? I did not cause this and any women out there, you’re not causing it,” Givens told Winfrey on Friday.
“I hope you accept my apology,” Winfrey told her. “I had a lot of empathy and compassion for Mike Tyson and still do, but that never makes hitting women OK. It’s never OK.”