Setting off the week with a series of rolling cringes, Tamron Hall got into a verbal sparring match with the father of late pop star Amy Winehouse, Mitch Winehouse. It seemed to stem from a misunderstanding from pre-show negotiating, and Winehouse’s own defensiveness about being painted as someone who enabled his daughter’s addiction. Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning in July 2011.
Hall introduced her top-of-show interview with Winehouse as a “U.S. television exclusive,” though Winehouse has certainly appeared on U.S. television before (he was on Cheddar last month). “Mitch has given interviews in the past to UK broadcasters but for the first time today Mitch is speaking out and ready to make an admission about his beloved daughter’s death and her battle with addiction,” Hall continued. When Mitch joined her remotely, Hall reminded him that he has defended himself in interviews and criticized Asif Kapadia’s 2015 Oscar-winning documentary Amy for painting him in a negative light.
“You are prepared today, as I understand it, to admit that mistakes were made that you now see more clearly, is that correct?,” said Hall. “No,” said Winehouse. Whoops!
Winehouse said he had gone on the show to promote Sno Babies, a critically savaged anti-drug movie whose producers have apparently teamed with the Amy Winehouse Foundation. “I’m not here to defend myself,” he said. “I haven’t got anything to defend myself or make any admissions… What am I supposed to admit to?”
Hall told him that his team had communicated “something very different.” She said she spoke with “a leading drug expert” who said, “Yes, it is Amy’s responsibility, or anybody who’s struggling. However, if a parent leaves the responsibility solely on the addict, it leaves the addict to believe that they don’t need help and they can fix themselves.” Hall asked Winehouse to tell him what he learned about his experience “rather than shaking your head, ‘cause we can have a productive conversation on the work that the foundation is doing.” Winehouse responded that it didn’t look like they would be doing that and Hall, said, “Okay.” Frosty!
Winehouse did, in fact, defend himself against Amy’s claim that he had dissuaded his daughter from entering rehab. The conversation devolved further into his-n-hers matching “Let me finish” exclamations.
The tension eventually dissipated when Winehouse admitted to having conversations with his daughter that were not sensible. He said that these included “screaming and shouting, falling on the floor, pretending I was ill, anything to shock her into stopping what she was doing.” He added: “That is not the way to handle it.”
This seemed to satisfy Hall’s thirst for an admission from Winehouse. Well that’s just great for everyone involved, and it only took about five minutes of butt-clenching awkwardness to get there.