Oprah Winfrey’s new reality TV star has a history of homophobia.
John Gray, a Christian pastor from Houston, Texas, has been given an eight-episode documentary series by the OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) called ‘The Book of John’, which will follow his life as a preacher and family man.
The decision is likely to anger LGBT rights campaigners, however, due to a series of anti-gay positions taken by Gray in the past.
Gray tweeted in 2013 that “homosexuality is no different from fornication, adultery, lying or any other sin”.
In 2012 he attacked gay judge Tonya Parker for refusing to perform marriages until gay marriage was legal in Texas, writing: “Gay judge n TX refuses2 do weddings until there’s marriage equality. Let a straight or Christian judge try the opposite-they’d fire them.”
And in 2011 he responded to the news that CNN was due to air a programme about school bullying by saying “it better not just be about gay kids”.
Oprah’s decision to grant Gray his own show will surprise many of her LGBT fans, who have long admired her history of promoting LGBT voices.
In 1997 Oprah famously interviewed comedian Ellen DeGeneres about her decision to come out as a lesbian.
And more recently Oprah interviewed trans advocate Janet Mock about her identity and what it means to be “othered” in society.
In one episode of ‘The Book of John’, Gray helps a couple to overcome infidelity. In another he counsels a victim of the 2016 Louisiana floods.
Oprah made headlines last month when she revealed that she is thinking about running for US President.
Winfrey, a Hillary Clinton supporter, spoke with financier David Rubenstein in an interview for his Bloomberg Television show, which aired last month.
Winfrey said: “I never considered the question even a possibility,” when asked whether she might consider a run, adding that she had always thought the job would require far more experience than she had.
But she changed her mind when billionaire property magnate Donald Trump, who had never been elected to any level of office before November, became the 45th US president.
“It’s clear you don’t need government experience to be elected president of the United States,” she said.