Photo: George Burns/Harpo Studios
Before his second appearance on The Oprah Show in 2006, a media firestorm had erupted over the fictionalization that appeared in James' memoir—including a report from The Smoking Gun called "The Man Who Conned Oprah." So, when James agreed to appear on the show to address the controversy surrounding A Million Little Pieces, Oprah says she was surprised.
"When I look at the tape five years later with a different perspective, I wonder what was said to you that would make you say yes," Oprah says to James.
James says that he was not aware that the entire show would be about him and his book. "I was told the show was going to be called 'Truth in America' and that it was going to be a discussion about the flexible definition of truth, or if there is a flexible definition of truth," James says. "I was told it would be a sort of mannered discussion, I guess, or a reasonable discussion, and that I would have a chance to tell my side of it."
The moment James says he realized the show could take a different turn was just before he left his hotel to go to Harpo Studios. "We were going to wait for a car, and [journalists] Frank Rich and Richard Cohen were there," he says. "I got introduced to them, and I was like, 'What are you guys here for?' And one of them pointed at me and said, 'We're here for you.'"
Watch James talk about what happened when he arrived at the studio in 2006