Oprah Winfrey will have to defend herself in a defamation suit over comments she made about the former headmistress of her all-girls school in South Africa, a judge has ruled. The talk show host has been ordered to attend trial in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on March 29. Former headmistress Nomvuyo Mzamane accused Winfrey of suggesting she was not trustworthy in comments she made during a 2007 press conference following a sex abuse scandal at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, near Johannesburg.
A dorm matron was later charged with abusing students. Following the scandal, the principal's contract was not renewed and she returned to her adopted Philadelphia in the hope of finding work. Mzamane claims she was unable to find work because of Winfrey's comments.
Judge Eduardo Robreno has agreed that Winfrey's comments were potentially defamatory and he has refused to dismiss the suit against the talk show host. In calling for the trial, Robreno says, "The implication that (Mzamane) was aware of abuse by the dorm parents and did not react accordingly is capable of defamatory meaning as it ascribes conduct which would render her unfit for her profession as an educator."