Oprah Winfrey Exits WeightWatchers Board After Using Weight Loss Drug

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Oprah Winfrey is stepping down from the WeightWatchers board. According to an official statement from WW, the brand formerly known as WeightWatchers, Winfrey will “transition” away from her former role. The icon informed the company that she wouldn’t be going up for reelection at the annual meeting in May on Monday (Feb. 26).

“I look forward to continuing to advise and collaborate with WeightWatchers and CEO Sima Sistani in elevating the conversation around recognizing obesity as a chronic condition, working to reduce stigma, and advocating for health equity,” she said.

Winfrey stated that she would continue to advocate for health and body positivity. The 70-year-old said she would participate in forums and panels to “advance” the conversations. “Weight health is a critically important topic and one that needs to be addressed at a broader scale,” Winfrey added. “I plan to participate in several public forums and events where I will be a vocal advocate in advancing this conversation.”

Oprah Winfrey on stage during her An Evening With Oprah tour on December 2, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia.
Oprah Winfrey on stage during her An Evening With Oprah tour on December 2, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia.

The company doesn’t harbor any ill will in the breakup. WeightWatchers’ Board of Directors stated that they would continue to “support” the entertainer in her health journey. The company also spoke about Oprah’s decision to donate her 10% share in the company to the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

“Her decision was not the result of any disagreement with the company on any matter relating to the company’s operations, policies, or practices,” the company maintained.

“[WW] is supportive of Ms. Winfrey’s proposal to donate all of her WW stock to the NMAAHC during the company’s upcoming trading window in March 2024,” the company expressed. “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. In addition, Ms. Winfrey intends to donate the proceeds from any future exercises of her WW stock options to NMAAHC.”

Oprah Winfrey attends the Los Angeles Red Carpet Premiere Event for Hulu’s “The 1619 Project” at Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on January 26, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.
Oprah Winfrey attends the Los Angeles Red Carpet Premiere Event for Hulu’s “The 1619 Project” at Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on January 26, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.

WW International chairman Thilo Semmelbauer praised Winfrey for her time on the Board. Thilo also called the legend an “inspiration” for her insight and special perspective. The chairman bluntly expressed that they would “dearly miss” having the Mississippi native on their team.

“Oprah has been an inspiring presence and passionate advocate for our members, providing critical insights and counsel that has helped shape WeightWatchers over these last eight years. 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.”

Oprah has been a mainstay on the WW board since 2015. Her almost 10-year tenure on the Board ends on the heels of the actress admitting to using a drug like Ozempic or Wegovy to lose weight. She admitted to the drug use in December 2023 during an interview with People. In the interview, she doesn’t say TikTok’s drugs of the moment by name. But, she alludes to the trendy and seemingly convenient way to lose weight. Winfrey also concludes that losing weight is simply based on a strong will and self-control.

Oprah Winfrey attends the 3rd Annual Academy Museum Gala at Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on December 03, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.
Oprah Winfrey attends the 3rd Annual Academy Museum Gala at Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on December 03, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.

“The fact that there’s a medically approved prescription for managing weight and staying healthier, in my lifetime, feels like relief, like redemption, like a gift, and not something to hide behind and once again be ridiculed for,” she said.

Winfrey also insisted that she’s using the drug as a “maintenance tool.” In an epiphany, the mogul realized that she didn’t have to “shame” or “live in shame” of her health. 

However, using a drug to lose weight comes in direct conflict with her contractual agreement with WW. According to WW International’s SEC court filings, Winfrey is to refrain from “engaging in any other weight loss or weight management business, program, products, or services.” Oprah Winfrey was to follow these guidelines during her time with the company and a year after she left—if she decided to depart.

Oprah Winfrey attends the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California.
Oprah Winfrey attends the 87th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 22, 2015 in Hollywood, California.

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