‘Today Show’ Oprah Trayvon Martin Comment Goes Viral! Winfrey Says Death Of Teenager Is ‘Same Thing’ As Emmett Till [VIDEO]

By Melissa Siegel August 8, 2013 9:04 AM EDT
Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey likened Trayvon Martin to Emmett Till in an interview for Today. (Photo: Getty Images)

Oprah Winfrey spoke about the Trayvon Martin case during her appearance on Today Show on Monday. The talk show host compared Martin's death to that of Emmett Till in 1955. Till was a black boy who was killed by white men after allegedly flirting with a white woman. The case helped spawn the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

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Martin, meanwhile, was shot to death by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman in Florida last year. Zimmernan argued that he killed the boy in self-defense, and he was acquitted of murder and manslaughter charges earlier this year. Till's alleged killers were also found not guilty.

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"It's so easy during this time — Trayvon Martin, Trayvon Martin parallel to Emmett Till, let me just tell you," Oprah said. "In my mind, same thing. But you can get stuck in that and not allow yourself to move forward and to see how far we've come."

Oprah was on Today to promote her upcoming film, The Butler. The host previously claimed that this movie would help white people understand why blacks were so upset about Martin's death.  You can watch video of her Emmett Till remark here.

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Oprah previously made headlines this week for her comments on Paula Deen. The Food Network host lost her job after it was revealed she had made racist comments and used the n-word. Several companies, including Sears and Smithfield Foods, also ended their relationships with the chef after the controversy. But Oprah noted that many others in America still use similar terminology.

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"I think that Paula Deen represented, you know, millions of people who have used the word," Oprah said. "Unfortunately, she is a public figure. And whatever the situation was with the hearing that she had, or had said it and then went on TV and said she had only said it one time, but Paula Deen, I thought, represented a whole lot of people. And I think for the big issue to be made about Paula Deen was what the media does."

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