After the Jeopardy! debacle, Sony TV is about to wade into even more controversy with Mehmet Oz's campaign for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania. Sony has already had to deal with accusations that Oz is the "World's Best Snake Oil Salesman," as The Daily Beat put it in a 2014 story. "With politics involved, Sony — which hasn’t made any big structural changes since the Jeopardy! fiasco — may be in for another round of public fire over one of its top franchises," says The Hollywood Reporter's Eriq Gardner. "Ask NBC and MGM, both of which came under tremendous pressure in 2016 to release Apprentice outtakes to check out allegations of racism and sexism by the star. And the problem doesn’t end there. Sony may worry about public sentiment from any forthcoming revelations about Oz, but just as concerning could be any reaction from the candidate himself. Should Sony or Winfrey attempt to distance themselves from him, Oz may lean into the controversy and claim being a victim of cancel culture. Why would he do that? As the recent Virginia governor’s race shows — GOP businessman Glenn Youngkin defeated former Gov. Terry McAuliffe — Republicans see culture wars as a winning ticket to power these days. Oz already has shown that such a move is in his playbook. Back in 2015, when some of his medical colleagues rallied together to strip him of his faculty position at Columbia, he attempted to position this as a civil liberties issue. In an essay for Time, one that would lead to (John) Oliver’s segment, Oz wrote, 'I know I have irritated some potential allies. No matter our disagreements, freedom of speech is the most fundamental right we have as Americans. We will not be silenced.' In other words, political winds plus the discourse around cancel culture could transform entertainment companies into unwitting pawns of a larger power struggle."
TOPICS: Mehmet Oz, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah Winfrey, Sony TV