Meritorious Manumission

Recently prominent journalist Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King had interviews surrounding accusations and sexual assault against singers Michael Jackson and  R. Kelly. Oprah Winfrey sat down with two men named Wade Robinson and James Safe chuck former friends of the late Michael Jackson. They were featured in a recent documentary called Leaving Neverland. They allege that Jackson sexually abused them as children. The problem with this is both men have been proven liars in court, Jackson is deceased and cannot defend himself, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) followed and monitored Michael. The agency concluded that he was not a pedophile and did not commit the crimes he was accused of. With R. Kelly things are different even though he was found not guilty of 13 counts of child pornography charges in 2008. Two months ago Lifetime premiered a docuseries called Surviving R. Kelly. The docuseries detailed allegations of physical and sexual abuse. R. Kelly has denied the accusations. But since the docuseries R. Kelly has been dropped from his record label and has been indicted on 10 accounts of aggravated criminal abuse. R. Kelly sat down with Gayle King to plead his innocence almost two weeks ago. It is safe to say that the interview was a PR disaster and will harm R. Kelly in judicial court and has caused more damage with the court of public opinion. I must admit contrary to popular belief Gayle was unprofessional and rude in that interview. It is the responsibility of the journalist to report and reveal the facts, remain neutral, and remain objective. Her tone with R. Kelly and his girlfriends sounded judgmental and condescending.

Gayle King and R. Kelly

As I have stated before I am not defending R. Kelly but I will say it is important to look at his situation from all angles. I believe that the rabbit hole is deeper than we realize. Michael Jackson's situation is different because his innocence was proven by both the local and federal government. Unfortunately, it  is more profitable to sell this lie about Michael Jackson it is far worse because he is now deceased. Michael's character continues to be slandered and it has been magnified in the court of public opinion. Both Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King have participated in a modern form of meritorious manumission.

Oprah Winfrey and Harvey Weinstein

What is Meritorious Manumission? The legal act of freeing a slave for good deeds as defined by the national public policy. Meritorious manumission could be granted to a slave who distinguished himself by saving the life of the of the White slave master, inventing a new medicine or snitching on fellow slaves. These slaves would receive rewards for their deeds. This was a destructive weapon in the slave holder's arsenal, and a powerful component of the public policy. This was first instituted in Virginia in 1710.

Charlie Rose and Gayle King

How does this correlate to Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King? Both women have relationships with two men who have been accused of sexual assault and harassment. Oprah is friends with prominent film producer and director Harvey Weinstein. Weinstein has been accused of raping and harassing women in Hollywood. Weinstein has not been scrutinized heavily in the media and Oprah has not denounced him. Gayle King's friend Charlie Rose is a prominent journalist. In 2017 he was accused of sexual harassment by several women. He was suspended from work but is now back on television. Gayle has remained friends with him. Since the infamous R. Kelly interview Gayle King's ratings gone up. I would not be shocked if both women received new endorsements and more money in the near future.

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