A long-lost interview between NFL superstar Dennis Rodman and TV legend Oprah Winfrey recently began circulating online and, let’s just say, it hasn’t aged well.
At the time, Rodman was at the peak of his popularity and was making tons of TV appearances. His highest profile one was on Oprah’s show in 1996.
A snippet of the interview resurfaced on Twitter this week. It shows Rodman being asked about his sexuality, which has always been a hot topic of conversation.
When Oprah questioned whether he was worried about his “sense of sexuality” as a young person, Rodman replied, “I was very scared to be around boys. I didn’t know how I would fit in because I was so shy.”
Then, in a truly cringeworthy moment by today’s standards, Oprah flat out asked if he was gay. When he said “no,” she said she believed him. Then she immediately asked if he was bisexual. When he said “no” again, she asked whether he had ever “thought about” having sex with another man.
Dennis Rodman discusses his sexuality on Oprah Winfrey Show (1996) pic.twitter.com/gkO0B9Xlhb
— Clitaurus (@Epithymia__) April 26, 2020
After the interview started circulating on social media, many criticized Oprah for her line of questioning, which bordered on interrogation.
In her defense, it was a much different time and we’re 99.9% sure she wouldn’t ask those same questions today, nearly 25 years later. Also, it’s not known whether she ran them by Rodman prior to interviewing him. Often, high profile sit-downs like these are scripted in advance.
Check out the responses…
Oprah is so damn rude , she basically wanted this man to say he’s gay so bad ….
— Tokyo (@khanykleee) April 27, 2020
These old clips of Oprah make me realize how problematic she was & how she was able to attain her level of success. She consistently vilified her own community for the White gaze, for DECADES. I was way too young to get it then but I’m grown & wide awake, now.
T R A S H. pic.twitter.com/r6V6lapZ6Z
— Petty L’Belle ☾ (@xoJoyBelleox) April 27, 2020
I’m so sick of Oprah… he told her no and she still persisted to ask him
— Janet Annette (@ThaPerfectBlend) April 27, 2020
I understand the conversation of black mans sexuality was taboo (and still is) but the man said no several times, and why does the audience seem so hostile to the idea of him saying yes?
— Nia Imani 🥀 (@Niamani_) April 27, 2020
Dennis is comfortable with himself, why tf is Oprah trying to pressure him into saying he is gay?? pic.twitter.com/si0xH8e13t
— A DON (@gigi_likespizza) April 27, 2020
she asked the same question 30 times in 15 different ways …
— lateisha lopez (@lateishalopez) April 27, 2020
Listen… Rodman be like, pic.twitter.com/jOACQ9RKDg
— #1 mom (@indigotshai) April 27, 2020
i really hate oprah. like she asked him so many times was he gay passive aggressively as if asking him again would make him change his answer like shes so fucjing jarring bro.
— virghoe ria . 🤎 (@riatheevirgo2) April 27, 2020
Oprah said: pic.twitter.com/s5cajuL0Ld
— yo kellz dont roll up (@kvllytrollin) April 27, 2020
And if he said he was gay or bi what was the endgame gonna be?
— Migos of the Offsets (@SeaOf23) April 27, 2020
This isn’t the first time Oprah has been criticized for past interviews she’s conducted around this same issue.
Earlier this year, actor Nathan Lane recalled going on her show while promoting The Birdcage in 1996 and having Oprah question whether he was worried about being typecast in gay roles.
“Were you afraid of being typecast as ‘are you, are you not?’ ‘Is he, isn’t he…?’” she asked.
Lane called the line of questioning “terrifying,” adding, “No one had been interested in my sex life up until then.”