Oprah vs. the Texas cattle industry: Do you remember?

1:37 p.m Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018 Recreation
Allen J. Schaben/TNS
(Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

If you imagine Oprah Winfrey in Texas, maybe you see her selecting “favorite things” in the Dallas Arts District, or tracking her Weight Watchers points in Houston’s Chinatown. 

Unless you were following the news in the late 1990s, you might not picture her spending six weeks in Amarillo testifying in a case brought against her by the Texas cattle industry. In 1998, however, that’s exactly what brought the talk show host to the Lone Star State. 

The Texas Tribune dug up the 20-year-old story earlier this week, after Winfrey made headlines for a viral Golden Globes speech that spurred chatter from some viewers about a possible presidential run. 

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After Winfrey featured an animal rights activist on her show who predicted mad cow disease would plague the country, the cattle industry took a hit, the Tribune reports. But, citing “‘veggie libel’ laws that made a person liable for making false statements about the safety of food,” the industry bit back, suing Winfrey.

During the six-week trial, Winfrey relocated her show to Amarillo, where 170,000 residents found her visit “both exciting and bewildering,” the Tribune reports. During her stint in the Panhandle, Winfrey learned how to two-step and occasionally spoke with a Texas drawl on the show.

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According to the Tribune, it was during this time that Winfrey also met an impressive jury consultant, Phil McGraw, whose career she would help launch by having him as a guest on her show.

Following Winfrey’s testimony, the jury ruled unanimously in her favor, and she returned home. You can read the Texas Tribune’s in-depth look at the interesting case, and the “Amarillo loves Oprah” shirts it inspired, here.