NBC said Monday that a twee touting Oprah Winfrey as "OUR future president" during the 75th Golden Globe Awards was "not meant to be a political statement" after it drew backlash online.
"Yesterday a tweet about the Golden Globes and Oprah Winfrey was sent by a third party agency for NBC Entertainment in real time during the broadcast," NBC tweeted. "It is in reference to a joke made during the monologue and not meant to be a political statement. We have since removed the tweet."
Winfrey, the iconic former daytime TV host, set off a wave of speculation about a potential 2020 presidential run after she gave a rousing speech at Sunday night's Golden Globe Awards that struck themes of social justice.
During the event, NBC sent a tweet with a picture of Winfrey and the words, "Nothing but respect for OUR future president. #GoldenGlobes"
The tweet may have been intended to reference a meme that emerged after a woman cleaned President Donald Trump's Hollywood star after it was vandalized last year. "Stopped to clean @realDonaldTrump Hollywood Star. Nothing but respect for MY President," Makenna Greenwald tweeted in June.
NBC's post Sunday night drew immediate criticism online.
President Donald Trump's oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., cited the missive as an example of media bias against his father.
"In case anyone had any doubts about where the media stands this should take care of it. The bias against @realDonaldTrump is now so obvious they have simply given up hiding it," Trump Jr. tweeted Monday. "Can you trust anything they say at this point?"
"This tweet puts every reporter at NBC in a bad spot. Foolish thing for them to do," tweeted former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, who served under Republican President George W. Bush. "But at least now they are open about their bias."
Fox & Friends, the president's favorite morning talk show, also scrutinized the post on Monday.
"OPRAH 2020? NBC and Hollywood elites push ‘Oprah Winfrey for President’ after her Golden Globes speech," the program's account tweeted Monday.
Winfrey, according to a report by CNN Monday, is actively mulling a 2020 run.