The singer shared a meme featuring photos of Oprah with disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, and the text: "When you have been part of the problem for decades but suddenly they all think you are the solution."
Seal's own caption read: "Oh I forgot, that's right.....you'd heard the rumours but you had no idea he was actually serially assaulting young stary-eyed actresses who in turn had no idea what they were getting into. My bad. #SanctimoniousHollywood"
The post came just days after Oprah delivered an impassioned speech at the Golden Globes while accepting her Cecil B. DeMille award. In her speech, Oprah declared that "a new day is on the horizon" for women and girls, and called for a time "when nobody ever has to say 'me too' again."
Oprah and Weinstein's professional paths previously crossed on projects like The Butler and The Great Debaters, and the pair have been captured on film together at numerous Hollywood events over the years.
Oprah has publicly denounced Weinstein's "hideous behaviour" since the allegations broke, and a rep later clarified that she would only continue to speak to Weinstein in the context of a 60 Minutes interview, and only if her gave her "the honest, bone marrow truth." An interview is not currently scheduled to take place.
Now it is Seal — not Oprah — that seems to be bearing the brunt of the backlash over the meme.
Many have been quick to defend Oprah's message as genuine, given her own personal history as a survivor of sexual assault, and are calling Seal out as a hypocrite instead. The singer was married to Heidi Klum, who has herself been linked with Weinstein, as he served as the producer on her long-running reality show Project Runway.
Chrissy Teigen commented on Seal's Instagram post, writing, "Hmm. Let's just say we've all heard things about each other, haven't we?"
See a selection of other responses to Seal's controversial post below.
So Seal has decided to lay the blame for Hollywood's sexual assault culture on Oprah, a survivor of sexual assault. Interesting... pic.twitter.com/WzrzCw6VV3— Savanna Drinking, Non-Dishwashing Potential In-Law (@THISisLULE) January 10, 2018
If being chummy for photo ops with someone in the same industry is all it takes...what's really good Seal? pic.twitter.com/l9tI6iYlRv— Savanna Drinking, Non-Dishwashing Potential In-Law (@THISisLULE) January 10, 2018
but.....Ain't this Seal's wife, and wasn't Weinstein an exec producer of her show.... oh ok....? pic.twitter.com/QVMtPzoLy3— Dee Cee. (@DCisChillin) January 11, 2018
Did his ex-wife not host a T.V. show that was produced by Harvey? I'm not understanding how he can blame Oprah and not Heidi. Maybe he should just, IDK, blame Harvey.— Roxanne Adamiyatt (@rcadamiyatt) January 10, 2018
- @Seal You're made of selective outrage & extreme hypocrisy. You called Oprah out for the crimes of a man she knew, but conveniently forgot to mention that your ex-wife and the mother of your children (Heidi Klum) was also a close friend of that same man. Did she "know," too? pic.twitter.com/OYXRH4l62p— ☽☼ⓚⓔⓔ☼☾ (@OMGkee) January 11, 2018