Oprah makes Australian gov’t pay $3.3 million to fly her entire audience down under

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Technically I should title this story “Oprah lets Australian government pay…” because it’s not like she forced them to foot the bill and the details are vague as to whose idea it was. Oprah claimed on her show that she thought it up. It’s still possible that the Australian government pitched the idea to Oprah’s people as a way to boost tourism, or maybe it was Oprah’s people’s idea and the Aussies signed on and even offered to pay. Either way, officials seems to be thrilled that Oprah is coming to Australia with her peeps and they’re more than happy to pay for it. Technically it’s the Australian people who are paying for it through their tax dollars and it’s not like they got to vote on it. In comparison to a lot of other government expenditures, this seems like chump change. Still, this is billionaire Oprah we’re talking about, she could have paid for it.

Australian taxpayers are footing the $2.3 million bill for Oprah’s Ultimate Australian Adventure, the upcoming 10-day televised visit from Oprah Winfrey and 450 of her crew members and studio audience, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Martin Ferguson, the country’s tourism minister, gathered state and federal funding in what he dubbed “a major coup,” as he believes the exposure from Winfrey’s huge audience will serve as a major endorsement for the country’s tourism industry, RadarOnline.com has learned.

The Australian government will send an additional $1 million to help fund the trip, according to the Sydney Daily Telegraph.

The talk show icon announced the trip to great fanfare during her season premiere earlier this week, and also gave her studio audience Motorola Smart phones. John Travolta will pilot the flight taking Winfrey and the others to Australia.

Winfrey, 56, said last November that this season will be her last. She will launch her new Oprah Winfrey Network on cable New Year’s Day.

[From Radar Online]

You can watch the video of Oprah telling her audience they’re going to Australia on Oprah.com. Listen to how obnoxious she is while she teases the audience with potential destinations as they scream and cry like they’re at a rock concert. It’s a lot like the “you’re all getting a car!” deal she did a few years ago, and all I can think about is “how is this going to work logistically?” There are plenty of moms, grandmothers, stepmoms and other caregivers in that audience, and I’m sure there are people who are needed at work. It’s not like everyone can take off whenever they want just because allmighty Oprah got funding from the Australian government and thinks everyone needs a trip. Don’t get me wrong I would love to go to Australia and it’s a nice gesture from Oprah (even if she didn’t pay for it) but I couldn’t do it on the spur of the moment like that. I have a kid in school and responsibilities. Who am I kidding? I’d be screaming and crying with the rest of them and would drop everything to go wherever Oprah told me we were going. We’re all drinking her kool aid hoping for a better life, including the Australian government apparently.

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37 Responses to “Oprah makes Australian gov’t pay $3.3 million to fly her entire audience down under”

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  1. serena says:

    Did they check to see if the audience all had passports? Do they need spending money? It all sounds a bit complicated to me…ahh who am I kidding I’m just bitter because I’m stuck in Liverpool pretending to work while surfing the internet!

  2. guesty says:

    so glad this is her last season.

  3. Fluffy Kitten Tail says:

    I watched that pathetic display on YouTube! Good god, the fawning over that woman is disgusting!

    Oprah is counting on the fact many of those people won’t be able to go due to work, family and passport issues.

  4. Stronzilla says:

    Gore Vidal wanted Oprah to run for president against George W. when he was up for is second term. He said she would have won hands down. Between her magazine, her website, Harpo Studios and and now her own network, incidentally called OWN, she will be able to get the word out about anything she wants! Watch out Australia, prepare to be invaded by Oprah!

  5. dingle says:

    ugh she has a god complex. its not like she drops a dime for any of these “gifts”

  6. moo says:

    She’s known as the world’s richest woman, but she doesn’t have to pay for any of this??? why???? WE all have to pay for our extravagant ideas!

  7. Tess says:

    Two thoughts:

    First, isn’t it gauling that Australian taxpayers must pony up for a billionare’s celebration of her wonderful old self?
    Crazy…seems that all around the world people in power are increasingly out of step with how the peasants feel about the way their hard-earned money is spent.

    Second, isn’t John Travolta the pilot? Interesting move in light of his recent gay sex exposure in one of the tabs. Of course it may not be true…but really….maybe unfair of me to say, but it just seems believable.

  8. Lita says:

    I live in sydney about 20 mins from the Opera House where they’ll be shooting this show. Points that struck me:

    – I’d love my government if they trumped up some reason to turn John Travolta back at customs – heh

    – do you think that he’ll arrange free stress tests on the flight over?

    – will they replace inflight entertainment with emeters?

    – heh imagine if they turned back travolta – sorry, still lolling, that’s all.

  9. aenflex says:

    While people starve in Pakistan. And Haiti. And the US.

  10. anonymous says:

    Oprah’s daddy was probably a Gypsie, have you ever appllied for a pass port?

  11. Lydia says:

    Sure they have to pay 3,000,000 but what of the revenue that will be brought to Australia because of this spotlight that will be on the country for a while?

  12. fizXgirl314 says:

    omg, how can there be so much whining and complaining about a free gift? IT’S A FUCKING GIFT… you don’t have to take it. Can’t get time off work? too bad… don’t go…. jesus…

    and just because someone has money doesn’t mean they should be paying for everything… It’s disrespectful… if I went out to dinner with someone who had loads of money, I wouldn’t expect them to pay for my meal…

  13. Tess says:

    fisXgirl, you are kidding…right?

  14. mollination says:

    Oh … wow. The title to this post is so wildly misused and innappropriate. Give me a break – that isn’t even remotely what happened.

  15. BethL says:

    I think it is lame that one of the wealthiest women in the world doesn’t have to pay for something for her own show. But than again, maybe Oprah isn’t special. I wonder when daytime shows go on location if they get taxbreaks and freebees but I doubt it’s $3 million. I do think that Australia will make its money back when Oprah comes. It may be cheaper than their own marketing plan.

  16. Lita says:

    Again as a aust’n person paying (from taxes) for this joyride, honestly, it’s probably worth it. Measure that level of exposure for $3 million it’s worth it. I have no problem with it, so long as they publicise it correctly. And they will; none of these people are media novices.

    Honestly aenflex I don’t understand how you can equate this with pakistan, haiti or the US needing aid (the US doesn’t need aid!!). By the same logic you should (you that has presumably donated to the pakistani floods, the haiti crisis and local american concerns) get rid of you internet connection to donate that money to pakistan. And other ‘luxuries’ too. Fancy food, entertainment must be off your menu! Really that sort of comment leaves me cold.

  17. fizXgirl314 says:

    wtf would I be kidding about? Seriously? you’re gonna bitch about a gift? SERIOUSLY?!!?!?!

  18. Feebee says:

    $ for $ the Australian government is probably making a good advertising spend here. HOWEVER…. it’s not about the Aust Govt really it’s about Oprah and the way she’s a little fakey fake about all these giveaways. SHE is not taking her audience, she is the tour leader of a group being paid for by someone else.

    That’s my only problem, the way she manages to take credit for a lot without stumping up anything.

    Oh, the other thing was the show got a lot of local Australians to turn up for a fitting, take the day off work, kept them penned up like sheep for hours for 30 secs of handing out flags. Some haven’t managed a trip home in 5 or 10 years so they got to watch 300 Americans celebrate. Not saying they were entitled to a trip but it was pretty hard for some of them, like a kid watching other kids in a candy store but not being allowed in. Seriously, they couldn’t find a few more seats on the jumbo they’ll have to use anyway?

  19. PsychicEyes says:

    I never could understand throughout the years what all the hype was about a talkshow host who was amassing hundreds and millions of advertising dollars at the emotional expense of others. The first time I saw the show, way back when I was a teenager, I thought “suckers, don’t they see they are being used and manipulated?”. I guess she had the last laugh. I watched the Youtube clip where she teased the poor suckers — she knows how to play things up, and really gave the impression that it was “she” forking the bill. I am glad the media is clarifying who really is footing the bill. Such utter shame how “we” put individuals in power by our actions. No one to blame but all the folks who tuned into the crappy program.

  20. Kimble says:

    Hope all those people realise that Uncle Sam will want his “cut” of Oprah’s “gift”!

    Great opportunity, but I suspect the gift receivers will be contracted to do all sorts of stuff during their “free” holiday.

    I have been to Australia and so it’s not envy on my part, I just think this might not be the deal that everyone thinks it is.

  21. Bina says:

    We (Pakistanis) have been trying to get Oprah to do a show to raise awareness about the floods, but I guess going to Australia was higher on the list of priorities.

  22. Kiska says:

    Oprah is a fraud and a fake. She lets on that it out of the goodness of her heart and blah blah but really she’ll be flying down in her private jet and only mingle with the masses during scheduled photo-ops.
    Her reign is over. I wish the bitch would just wipe sanctimonious smile on her face each time she pulls a stunt like this.

  23. PsychicEyes says:

    Yup, this only confirms what I thought of this media cow — if it brings her the ratings then she’s onboard and happy to get the full credit. Shameful really that she would not give a bit of time to the Pakistani flood victims. BTW, I’ve donated and so did a lot of my friends. Folks, I hope you don’t tune into her new show — she’s probably betting huge dollars that you will.

  24. Jeri says:

    Can’t wait until her show ends – she really thinks she is QUEEN of AMERICA and everyone should bow & kiss butt.

  25. Mistral says:

    Damn, why wasn’t I there? I could use a free trip to Oz…

  26. Shoe_Lover says:

    As an Aussie I am glad she is doing this and I don’t care if the government is footing the bill. This has the potential to bring a lot more than $3 million in to the country with the increased tourism it would provide not to mention that this is the best tourism campaign we have had in years. Truthfully though I am most excited at the John Travolta thing- love him!!!!

  27. lala from nYc says:

    I’m totally drinking the Oprah Kool-aid!

    If anyone doesn’t want their free tix to Oz, let me know. I love Australia!!

  28. gemk says:

    I have never been a fan of Oprah. Not in the least. However, I was lucky enough to go on a lavish two-week Mediterranean cruise last summer – courtesy of Oprah. The all-expenses-paid vacation was a gesture of thanks to her employees and their families, and was offered without a single catch. No detail, no expense was overlooked. She made sure it was possible for everyone to enjoy the trip without paying a dime. It was a very generous, selfless, and sincere act of kindness. As arrogant as she can be, she values her employees and her fans and in her own self-absorbed way, she does change lives. I don’t doubt for a second that she figured out a way to make sure those people can go to Australia – passports, vacation time, childcare, whatever.

    And let’s not forget that everything she touches turns to gold. I’m sure Australia will be no exception.

    No need to hate on her. For this, anyway…

  29. GatsbyGal says:

    Oprah should’ve given the $3.3 mil to a charity or something. Flying a whole studio of people to Australia on someone else’s dime seems really just not the image this country should be projecting right now. We’re supposed to be a recession, right? We should all be downsizing our spending. But I suppose the financial struggles of the little people matter not to Mighty Oprah.

  30. orion70 says:

    yeah, gross. This was totally worked in the media as if she was the financial backer for this little trip.

  31. jemshoes says:

    I’ve never been a fan but I agree with fellow Aussie Shoe_Lover that Oprah coming to Oz will mean a HUGE boost in tourism and government revenue. So, I guess it’s g’day Oprah!

  32. lucy2 says:

    I hope they do get a boost in tourism to cover the costs, but who knows.
    What I find kind of lame is that much like the car giveaway and probably all the other freebies she gives out, Oprah passes this off as a gift to her audience, yet it’s someone else providing it. She takes the credit, they foot the bill.

    Kimble, I was thinking the same thing. If it’s $3.3 mil for 450 people, that’s over $7K each. There’s a lot of US taxes to pay on that when you “win” something that expensive. A friend of mine won a $10K trip for himself and a few friends, and he had a very hard time paying the taxes on it (none of the people he took on the trip helped him out either, which I thought was lousy!)

  33. conniemackenzie says:

    Well!!!!! Ive never heard so much bigotry & thinly disguised racial hatred coming out of the mouths of people who havnt got a clue what they are talking about.but then, thats the internet for you! They hide under the rocks called anonymity!
    Here in Australia, we actually love tourism & the 3 mil is chickenfeed compared to what we anually spend on our tourist trade. We recoup that in billions! Yes thats right – billions!We love our tourists, & may they & whoever else wants to add to the profits – yes even Tiger did! keep em coming! You see, Australians arnt full of negativity & cynicism like some of the crackpots who have made some of the comments!
    VIVA AUSSIE TOURISM

  34. chickfuzz says:

    Australians may love some tourists…not Americans. My friend went about a year ago. Had a terrible experience. Was asked if she was American. When she innocently answered “yes” had a drinking glass thrown at her head. It shattered and cut the side of her face. She was repeatly insulted by being called some sort of slang that she found out means septic tank because she was American. Her advice to me; if those folks ask if you are American, lie and say you are Canandian. Keep you from getting your head busted. Austalians may like your tourist money, but hate your nationality guts.