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Protesters slam Oprah for suggesting movement lacks leadership

Organizers behind recent protests speak out against the former talk show host for suggesting the movement lacks leadership.
Producer Oprah Winfrey attends the premiere of \"Selma\" at the Ziegfeld Theatre on Dec. 14, 2014, in N.Y. (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Producer Oprah Winfrey attends the premiere of \"Selma\" at the Ziegfeld Theatre on Dec. 14, 2014, in N.Y.

Organizers behind the recent wave of anti-police brutality protests across the country fired back at media mogul Oprah Winfrey on Twitter Friday for suggesting their movement lacks true leadership.

During an interview with People magazine posted online Thursday, the former talk show host discussed the demonstrations over police treatment of African-Americans. Many of the protests were sparked by the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City.

"I think it's wonderful to march and to protest and it's wonderful to see all across the country, people doing it," Winfrey told the magazine. But that wasn't enough, according to the influential philanthropist.

"What I'm looking for is some kind of leadership to come out of this to say, 'This is what we want. This is what has to change, and these are the steps that we need to take to make these changes, and this is what we're willing to do to get it,'" she added.

Winfrey cited the actions of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the voting rights protests of 1965— which are portrayed in “Selma,” a critically acclaimed new film that she co-produced and in which she plays a small, but pivotal, co-starring role — as an example of a more effective way to achieve results.

"I think what can be gleaned from our film is to take note of the strategic, peaceful intention required when you want real change," Winfrey said.

Activists involved in the recent spate of protests have not taken kindly to that criticism. Many tweeted their frustration with the pop culture icon and suggested she's out of touch with what's really going on.