Oprah Exits Weight Watchers Board After Weight-Loss Medication Use Reveal

The billionaire media titan said she will donate her shares in the company to the National Museum of African American History

Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey (Steve Jennings/Getty Images)

Oprah Winfrey will be leaving the Weight Watchers board in May after her use of weight-loss medications was disclosed.

The billionaire media titan and legendary dieter, who joined the board in 2015, will be donating her shares in the company, whose formal name is WW International, to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which she has long supported.

The share donation is an effort “to eliminate any perceived conflict of interest around her taking weight loss medications,” the company said in a statement released.

In January, Winfrey said in a regulatory filing that she owned 1.1 million shares of the company. That would put the value of her holdings at about $3.4 million, a far cry from the $43 million stake she bought before joining the board.

The news cratered shares of WW International, which gave up 79 cents, or 20.7%, to $3.03 in heavy trading Thursday.

Winfrey as recently as September called drugs like Ozempic that have swept the nation in the past few years “the easy way out” when it comes to dropping pounds. But in December, People Magazine revealed she was using a drug as a “maintenance tool.”

Earlier last year, Weight Watchers, which has long pushed a program of balanced eating and exercise for weight loss, bought telehealth company Sequence and by December, the rebranded service, now called WeightWatchers Clinic, was prescribing drugs like Ozempic.

Winfrey said in the statement she will continue to advise and collaborate with the company “in elevating the conversation around recognizing obesity as a chronic condition, working to reduce stigma, and advocating for health equity.”

“Weight Health is a critically important topic and one that needs to be addressed at a broader scale,” she said. “I plan to participate in a number of public forums and events where I will be a vocal advocate in advancing this conversation.”


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