Oprah-winfrey-harpo-lays-off-250-employees-getty-320.jpgOprah Winfrey made a major faux pas last night during the Grammy telecast by tweeting a request for viewers — Nielsen subscribers in particular — to watch her cable network OWN.

“Every 1 who can please turn to OWN especially if u have a Nielsen box,” she tweeted, according to EW.com. Adding later, “Commercial Grammy people..u can turn to OWN.”

Some of Oprah’s more than 9 million Twitter followers responded by criticizing her for “begging for viewers” and calling her “pitiful,” “desperate” and “corrupt,” and at least one follower noted that her account must have been hacked. Not to be outdone, Oprah defended her tweet with, “the word ‘please’ is used as a courtesy not a beg” and “unethical a little harsh don’t u think? Seemed like it made sense to me. Sorry if u’re offended.”

But calling Oprah’s tweet unethical wasn’t just a matter of opinion: Deadline Hollywood notes that Nielsen doesn’t allow networks to openly solicit Nielsen subscribers and has a policy that prohibits “attempts to single out panel members … to change their viewing habits.”

Nielsen is reviewing the incident and says it may “withhold, breakout and/or make a note in the ratings.”

Oprah later released this statement about the now-deleted post: “I removed the tweet at the request of Nielsen. I intended no harm and apologize for the reference.”

Posted by:Jennifer Harper