Stewart said the last 2½ years of her life have been a nightmare, particularly seeing her life's work undermined. "I've worked for 62 years, Barbara. I have been working and slaving and creating and building. This is a long time. … I wasn't born rich. I didn't become rich overnight," she said.
She said she felt she was the target of especially personal criticism because she's a powerful and successful woman.
During the trial, for example, the press scrutinized her wardrobe and suggested that she appeared arrogant and haughty to the jury. Even her choice of handbags was noted, particularly a Hermes Birkin handbag, said to cost at least $6,000.
Stewart said the focus on her handbag was unfair. "Do you know that that is my only handbag. Do you know that? Do you know how many handbags I own? And that I bought that handbag I think it was 12 or 14 years ago. I bought that for myself when I felt successful enough to buy a beautiful handbag. And it did not cost $6,000 12 or 14 years ago."
She said she was a particularly easy target because she had such a broad media presence. "I was on television 21 times a week with my wonderful, award-winning, Emmy-winning, how-to television program that was such a nice alternative to other things that are on television. This program teaches. This program informs. This program promotes crafts, and artisans, and artists, and paper makers, and gardeners, and hydrangeas. … How can you malign something like that?" she asked.
While Stewart said she doesn't feel she's a special case, she said she thinks she is being held up as an example. "I think that it really could happen to pretty much anybody. It really could. More to a well-known person, a celebrity, … or someone like I am, who's built this fantastic business … to bring them down a notch. To scare other people. This is what it's all about," she said.