Oprah for president? Winfrey fans urge White House run after #MeToo speech

Los Angeles: Oprah Winfrey's long-time partner says the TV superstar would "absolutely" run for president after her Golden Globes speech ignited social media and erupted in calls for Oprah2020.

Her stirring speech as she accepted annual Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award was praised for being an inspirational, non-partisan, positive address in praise of women who have shared their stories of sexual harassment and abuse.

"A new day is on the horizon," Winfrey declared, to a standing ovation.

"When that new day finally dawns it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure they become leaders that take us to the time where nobody has to say 'me too' again," Winfrey said, referring to the #MeToo social media movement raising awareness about sexual harassment.

The speech immediately sent #Oprahforpresident and #Oprah2020 trending on Twitter during a Golden Globes ceremony in which Hollywood's rule book was thrown in the bin and the serious issue of workplace harassment overtook the tradition of inane "awards season" chatter.

Winfrey, the first black woman to receive a lifetime achievement award, is an actress, movie and television producer, and chief executive of her OWN cable channel.

"In a 9 minute speech, @Oprah was more presidential than the current occupant of the White House has been for an entire year," wrote Khary Penebaker, a member of the Democratic National Committee, on Twitter.

"That speech was everything. #timesup #oprahforpresident," tweeted Boston television personality Cassy Arsenault in one of many calls for Winfrey to run in the next US presidential election, in November 2020.

Oprah Winfrey's rousing speech given to accept the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement has led to calls for her to run for president.  Photo: PAUL DRINKWATER

Oprah Winfrey's rousing speech given to accept the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement has led to calls for her to run for president. Photo: PAUL DRINKWATER

Winfrey is "actively thinking" about a run for president, CNN reported on Monday (local time), citing two of her close friends. At least one emphasised that Winfrey had made no firm decision on a run.

The Los Angeles Times quoted Stedman Graham, Winfrey's longtime partner in business and life, as saying on Sunday that "It's up to the people ... She would absolutely do it."

Many stars, including the cast of Big Little Lies, wore black to the Golden Globes in protest of sexual harassment and abuse in the entertainment industry. Photo: Jordan Strauss

Many stars, including the cast of Big Little Lies, wore black to the Golden Globes in protest of sexual harassment and abuse in the entertainment industry. Photo: Jordan Strauss

In recent years, Winfrey, 63, has lent her star power to endorse Democratic presidential candidates: Barack Obama when he was seeking to become the first black US president in 2008 and Hillary Clinton in her campaign against Trump in 2016.

But, in the past, Winfrey has said she is not interested in running for president, for example saying in a CBS interview in October when asked about the 2020 presidential election: "There will be no running for office of any kind for me."

Winfrey was raised in poverty by a single mother and went on to host the top-rated talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show for 25 years before ending it in 2011.

"I want to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault because they, like my mother, had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue."

She produced and acted in the 2014 civil rights movie Selma, and 2017's The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and was Oscar nominated in 1986 for her role in The Color Purple, which she later helped finance as Broadway musical.

Even after ending her daily talk show, her influence on popular culture remains strong.

Forbes last year estimated her net worth at $3 billion and placed her third on its list of the America's richest self-made women.

The Golden Globes, Hollywood's first leading up to the Oscars, was dominated by a scandal that has seen dozens of powerful men in US entertainment, politics and the media accused of sexual abuse or harassment.

Winfrey, who along with most of the show's other women attendees wore a black gown to show support for victims of sexual misconduct, was the first black woman to receive the annual Cecil B. DeMille award, joining the likes of Meryl Streep, Steven Spielberg, Barbra Streisand and Sophia Loren.

Fairfax Media, Reuters