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EXCLUSIVE: Employees Blast Oprah For Making Them Sign No-Phone Pledge

Feb. 11 2010, Published 4:30 a.m. ET

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Many of Oprah Winfrey’s employees are angry that she made them sign a pledge not to use their phones while driving, has learned exclusively.

Oprah started her “no phone zone pledge” after taping a program that featured a young couple who lost their daughter after a man, who was talking on his cell phone, hit their SUV.

And while Oprah’s heart is certainly in the right place, many felt her tactics were heavy-handed and that she shouldn’t be ruling their lives.

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Sources told exclusively that many employees are very unhappy they can’t use their hands-free devices in their own cars. “Some were complaining that they had just purchased hands-free devices and now they can’t use them,” one source told “They’re worried this will hurt them from doing their jobs. Some employees talk on the phone while drive because they are under deadlines and their jobs are not 9-to-5.”

Oprah did not force the employees to sign the pledge. “But it was pretty clear to everyone that it would not be good to resist signing it,” one insider told “You don’t mess with Oprah.”

All Oprah employees were approached and asked to sign the pledge. “They all felt pressure and Oprah’s people even taped some people signing it,” the insider added.

Many employees support the pledge, which reads:

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“I pledge to make my car a No Phone Zone. Beginning right now,  I will do my part to help put an end to distracted driving by not texting or using my phone while I am driving.  I will ask other drivers I know to do the same.  I pledge to make a difference.”

But others simply feel Oprah has stepped too far into their lives. “Of course Oprah can sign the pledge, she’s in the back of a limo all the time, texting away,” one insider joked.

Other staffers are stressed out that they will be caught talking on the phone while driving. And yes, the insider told, many employees signed the pledge and have already violated it.

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The bottom line, said many people, is that Oprah’s intentions are good but many employees simply believe she has crossed a line too far into their personal lives.



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