The Color Purple: Oprah Winfrey Squashes Taraji P. Henson Feud Rumors – Looper
Taraji P. Henson has been quite vocal about her experience shooting the musical big-screen version of “The Color Purple” – the sour and joyful parts alike. While appearing on Gayle King’s SiriusXM radio talk show in December 2023, she expressed her dismay with the pay she’s received. “I hear people go, ‘You work a lot.’ I have to. The math ain’t math-ing,” she told King at the time. “Big bills come with what we do. We don’t do this alone. It’s a whole team behind us. They have to get paid.”
She later told The New York Times that she’d been forced to hire her own driver while shooting the film and levied a critique against Warner Bros. for forcing the cast to transport themselves to the set, explaining that it was an insurance liability.
Audiences took to social media to discuss why Oprah Winfrey — a co-producer on the musical big-screen version of “The Color Purple” — hadn’t spoken up to support Henson’s claims, with some assigning blame to the former talk show host for its shooting conditions, even wondering if Winfrey and Henson were fighting.
Winfrey has since released a statement to confront her naysayers. “Taraji will tell you herself that I’ve been the greatest champion of this film, championing not only the behind-the-scenes production but also everything that everybody needed,” she told Entertainment Tonight, shooting down notions of a conflict between herself and Henson stemming from so-called discord at a photo shoot for the film. “There’s no validity to there being a thing between Taraji and I,” she declared, though that isn’t the only reaction Winfrey had to Henson’s statements.
Oprah Winfrey insists that actor’s teams are responsible for their salaries
Warner Bros. Pictures
Oprah Winfrey also noted in her Entertainment Tonight interview that Warner Bros. — the studio that released “The Color Purple” and who obviously handled the film’s budget — is fully responsible for any salary issues. She says that actors’ agents and teams are responsible for how much pay they ultimately take in. “That’s the way the studio system works, and we, as producers — everybody gets their salary negotiated by your team.”
She added that whenever she heard there were problems on the set, she stepped in and took care of them herself. Winfrey also stated that she felt Taraji P. Henson would step up and agree with her claims, stating, “I believe that she [Henson] would even vouch for that.” She also advocated for Henson’s choice to be honest about her situation. “I am all for everybody being the greatest and meeting the rising of their own life.”
As of press time, Taraji P. Henson has not released a statement affirming or denying Winfrey’s claims. Time will tell if further conflict flares to life — or if one even existed in the first place.