Oprah gets Swiss apology after ‘racist’ shop clerk refused to show her
Back to Main MenuWeather HomeToday Forecast5 Day ForecastSchool Event ClosuresBack to Main MenuCrime Safety HomePolice BlotterReported CrimesCity of SyracuseNorth Suburbs Oswego CountyEast Suburbs Madison CountyWest Suburbs Cayuga CountyCNY TrafficBack to Main MenuEntertainment HomeCNY RestaurantsMovies Times NewsCNY Events CalendarCNY Music SceneCNY Arts TheaterCNY FestivalsCNY Tickets on SaleTV News ListingsNew York State FairCelebrity NewsBack to Main MenuPhotos HomePhoto EssaysBuy Photo ReprintsYour PhotosBack to Main MenuVideos HomeNews VideosSports VideosHigh School Sports VideosEntertainment VideosLiving VideosGENEVA (AP) It’s a glamorous playground of the rich and famous, filled with glitterati from princes to movie stars. It’s also a land with a sometimes uneasy relationship with foreigners especially when they aren’t white.Billionaire media mogul Oprah Winfrey says she ran into Swiss racism when a clerk at Trois Pommes, a pricey Zurich boutique, refused to show her a black handbag, telling one of the world’s richest women that she “will not be able to afford” the $38,000 price tag. Winfrey earned $77 million in the year ending in June, according to Forbes magazine.”She said: ‘No, no, no, you don’t want to see that one. You want to see this one. t adidas samba elevision program “Entertainment Tonight,” quoted the clerk as saying. “And I said, ‘Well, I adidas samba did really want to see that one.’ And she refused to get it.”Swiss tourism officials and the boutique owner were quick to offer apologies on Friday.”We are very sorry for what happened to her, of course, because we think all of our guests and clients should be treated respectfully, in a professional way,” Daniela Baer, a spokeswoman for the Swiss tourism office, told The Associated Press.The tourism office also posted an apology on Twitter, saying “this person acted terribly wrong.”Boutique owner Trudie G adidas samba oetz told the BBC that an assistant had shown Winfrey several other items before the “misunderstanding.”The newspaper Blick described the bag as a crocodile leather Tom Ford design named for actress Jennifer Aniston, a fan of the American designer. It quoted Goetz as saying the bag was priced at 35,000 Swiss francs.”I have to admit that the employee is Italian. Of course, she speaks English, but not as well as her mother tongue,” Goetz said in a video interview on Blick’s website. “It was a real misunderstanding.”Winfrey was in Switzerland to attend the wedding of her longtime friend Tina Turner, who has lived in Zurich for many years and has been quoted saying how much she enjoys living among the Swiss. Turner was granted a passport earlier this year, a process that typically takes years.About 23 percent of Switzerland’s 8 million residents are non Swiss, and the country earned more than $39 billion from tourism in 2011. Last year, a government appointed commission reported that immigrants and “people who visit Switzerland as tourists or who seek asylum here, and people of a different skin color” can encounter “xenophobia and racism in certain areas of life.”The nationalistic Swiss People’s Party, which has the largest number of seats in the federal parliament, has won support through claims that immigrants can bring crime and social problems to a country that has been an oasis of stability even in Europe’s darkest days.In recent years, the People’s Party has successfully campaigned to ban the construction of minarets in a country that has about 400,000 Muslims, and to tighten the country’s asylum law. Swiss lawmakers also narrowly rejected a proposal to ban face covering veils worn by some Muslim women in public spaces.And this week, a row broke out over plans to bar asylum seekers living in the small town of Bremgarten from visiting public swimming pools and attending schools.Human Rights Watch said the agreement by the Swiss migration office to let the town impose “house rules” to limit access to schools and sports facilities violates international law.It wasn’t the first time Winfrey has taken issue with treatment at a ritzy European boutique. In 2005, she was turned away from a Hermes shop in Paris 15 minutes after closing time. The store said it was closed for a private event.A Hermes executive appeared on Winfrey’s talk show to apologize for the “rigid and rude” behavior of the employee. Winfrey complimented Hermes on its response including sensitivity training for employees and urged viewers to buy the company’s products.In the film, she plays the wife of a butler who is a wi adidas samba tness to history, from the cotton fields of Georgia to the White House. It is based loosely on the career of Eugene Allen, who served as a White House butler from the Eisenhower through Reagan administrations.