London, Nov 25 : TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey has asked a court to dismiss a defamation case brought by the ex-principal of her girls school in South Africa. According to the lawsuit, filed in Philadelphia last month, Mzamane is seeking more than 250,000 dollars in damages for remarks Winfrey made insinuating that she failed in her duty as the head of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls after a dorm matron was accused of assaulting and abusing six students last year.
Mzamane, a native of Lesotho, previously held a leadership post at the Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia and returned to the area after her contract wasn't renewed at Winfrey's school.
Mzamane says she has been unable to find work because of Winfrey's comments.
However, Winfrey denies making any false or defamatory statements and argues that the federal suit should not proceed in Pennsylvania.
"Read in context, these statements suggest no more than they actually say - that the abuse incident was used as an opportunity to bring new personnel into the school - and they cannot be twisted into anything defamatory," the Telegraph quoted the lawyers, as stating.
Winfrey asked the court either to dismiss the suit for jurisdictional reasons or, in keeping with the school contract, to order arbitration.
According to the response from lawyers Carl A Salono of Philadelphia and Charles S Sims of New York, Winfrey and her companies do no business in Pennsylvania.
"The fact that her statements were reported from the press in South Africa around the world does not support, and rather contradicts, any contention that she targeted Pennsylvania in making her comments," they wrote.