Nikki Haley's decision Thursday not to grant Winfrey access to Smith continues the state Department of Corrections' policy of prohibiting inmates from conducting interviews, The (Charleston) Post and Courier reported Friday.
"While Gov.-elect Haley has great respect for Oprah, let's be clear: Ms. Smith got enough press when she killed her two children and lied about it to the country," Haley spokesman Rob Godfrey said. "South Carolina suffered enough from this tragedy, and we are now focused on the positives in our great state."
Winfrey told her audience during a show that aired Wednesday she always wanted to interview Smith and hoped to do so during her last season. In the April edition of The Oprah Magazine, Winfrey said she wanted to interview Smith "not because of the horrific-ness of what she did, but because she changed the way we look at parents in this country. ... When somebody comes forward and says, 'My child is missing,' we now suspect the parents first. She changed the paradigm."
Smith is up for parole on Nov. 4, 2024. She was convicted in 1995 of the murders of her boys, 3-year-old Michael and 14-month-old Alex. Smith, who is white, originally told police her vehicle was carjacked by a black man who kidnapped the boys, prompting a manhunt. She had killed her sons, who were strapped into their car seats, by rolling her car into a lake.