Oprah has come Down Under fire for a recent segment on her mega-talk show, wherein Australian TV personality Carrie Bickmore takes Oprah on a tour of Australia. The Australian Tourism board reportedly paid the talk-show-diva-supernova $3 million for her visit, in which Carrie talks Aussie lingo before taking Oprah to McDonalds. From the Telegraph:
“They’re hip hang-outs where people sip gourmet coffees in the McCafes and dine from a menu exclusive to Australia.”
The suggestion that Australians gather and socialise in McDonald’s has hit a nerve in the country. Australia has a thriving coffee culture, thanks to its Italian and Greek migrants, in which chains are shunned in favour of independent cafés.
The Australian media instantly condemned the piece as “absurd”.
Two things strike us about this. One, Oprah would do the same thing in North America and two, the American media wouldn’t say “boo” if she did . Forget about Italian/Greek migrants, forget about specialty coffee culture, and especially forget about World Barista Champions.
From Australian Defamer:
The Australian asked the Ten Network and McDonald’s about the curious reference and they confirmed McDonald’s was a “broadcast sponsor and had a global arrangement directly with Harpo Productions for the in-program McCafe activity that appeared in Carrie’s segment”. In other words, the segment was paid for and funded by McDonald’s.
UGH. I am perhaps naive, but even I am surprised to see the most influential woman in the world hawking a fast food conglomerate to a nation in the midst of an obesity epidemic.
And Bickmore… woman, what ARE you doing? How could you even film a segment like that with a straight face? At what price fame? Getting your face on Oprah is a big break, I admit, but is it really worth it when all you’re essentially doing is hosting an infomercial for Maccas? I am embarrassed for you.
This isn’t the first time Oprah has snubbed specialty coffee, and uh, some of the brightest minds in coffee live in Australia or broke into the industry there. Oprah, we sincerely recommend that the next time you’re interested in Aussie coffee, try Em Oak before this Bickmore lady. Yeesh.