Oprah Winfrey Exiting Weight Watchers Board After Using Weight Loss Drug

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Oprah Winfrey is exiting Weight Watchers after almost a decade and donating her shares to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Winfrey released a statement on her exit and said she still plans to advise and collaborate with Weight Watchers, including public forums and events.

Winfrey's exit comes a few months after she revealed her usage of a prescription drug for weight loss management. At the time, she also opened up about how the public attention on her weight over the years influenced her feelings of shame and openness to solutions.

Oprah Winfrey Is Leaving The Weight Watchers Board

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Oprah Winfrey is bowing out of Weight Watchers after spending almost ten years on their board of directors. The company recently released a statement that Winfrey has informed the board this week that she's not running for re-election at the next annual meeting, which will be held on May 9th.

Winifred has served as a board member and public representative for Weight Watchers for years. According to the statement, the producer and TV personality will continue working for the company as a public advocate for weight health and obesity issues. She will also remain as the co-host for an upcoming event in May.

Winfrey is also reportedly donating all her shares in Weight Watchers to the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The statement read, "Ms. Winfrey is making the donation to support the NMAAHC's goal to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans and to eliminate any perceived conflict of interest around her taking weight loss medications."

The statement suggested that the reveal of her usage of the medication was a factor in her leaving the company. As at the last proxy statement for Weight Watchers, Winfrey's stake was valued at over $18 million. After the announcement of her exit on Thursday, the share price fell by over 20 percent.

Oprah Winfrey's Statement On Her Exit

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In her own statement, Winfrey shared that she'll still work with WeightWatchers in an advisory capacity. She also plans to continue to collaborate with them "in elevating the conversation around recognizing obesity as a chronic condition, working to reduce stigma, and advocating for health equity."

The statement further read, "Weight Health is a critically important topic and one that needs to be addressed at a broader scale. I plan to participate in a number of public forums and events where I will be a vocal advocate in advancing this conversation."

In the Weight Watcher's official statement, board chairman Thilo Semmelbauer praised her work and presence in the company over the past eight years.

Semmelbauer noted, "On behalf of the board, I would like to thank her for her energy, dedication, and for continuing to play a role as collaborator and thought partner going forward. What I know for sure, we will dearly miss her presence on the board."

The Iconic Talk Show Host Disclosed Her Medication Usage In December

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Winfrey revealed that she'd begun using a prescription drug for weight loss management in December. At the time, she was featured in a People magazine cover story and spoke about incorporating the drug into her "holistic approach" to weight loss.

During that interview, Winfrey shared that she got the drug during physical rehabilitation for her knee surgery in 2021. However, the usage directly contravened her agreement with Weight Watchers, which is why she's exiting the board and company.

The "Color Purple" producer had agreed to the exclusive usage of "her name, image, likeness or endorsement" regarding all matters and programs of weight loss. She was also prohibited from engaging in "any other weight loss or weight management business, program, products, or services" while a member of the board.

Oprah Winfrey On Her Decades-long Weight Loss Journey

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During the interview with the news outlet, Winfrey also opened up about how the public attention on her weight over the years influenced her feelings of shame and openness to solutions.

She explained that her fluctuating weight "occupied five decades of space in my brain, yo-yoing and feeling like, why can't I just conquer this thing, believing willpower was my failing."

The award-winning author mentioned how the media made it a "public sport" to make fun of her and her body "for 25 years." She said, "I have been blamed and shamed, and I blamed and shamed myself."

Winfrey explained that she finally "released" her own shame about using the prescription drug and admitted to "actually recommending [the drug] to people" before she started using it for herself.

According to Winfrey, she now uses the weight loss medication as she feels necessary.