Oprah Winfrey says she regrets mentioning handbag racism incident in Zurich
In a recent interview with Entertainment Tonight, Winfrey recalled a clerk at an upscale Zurich boutique refusing to show her a handbag. Winfrey said she was told she could not afford the $38,000 purse.
‘I’m in a store and the person doesn’t obviously know that I carry the black card and so they make an assessment based upon the way I look and who I am,’ said Winfrey, who earned $77 million in the year ending in June, according to Forbes magazine.
‘I didn’t have anything that said “I have money”: I wasn’t wearing a diamond stud. I didn’t have a pocketbook. I didn’t wear Louboutin shoes. I didn’t have anything,’ said Winfrey on the red carpet.
‘You should be able to go in a store looking like whatever you look li adidas samba ke and say “I’d like to see this”. That didn’t happen.’
Swiss tourism officials and the boutique owner apologized for the incident last week, but Winfrey insists there’s no need.
‘It’s not an indictment against the country or even that store,’ she continued. ‘It was just one person who didn’t want to offer me the opportunity to see the bag.
‘So no apologies necessary from the country of Switzerland. If somebody makes a mistake in the United States do we apologize in front of the whole country? No!’
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Speaking anonymously, the assistant at Trois Pommes, in Zurich, Switzerland (pictured) said it is ‘absolutely not true that I declined to show her the bag on racist grounds’
Shop owner Trudie Goetz holds up the handbag (right) that Winfrey wanted to see
The Trois Pommes sales assistant said over the weekend that she felt ‘powerless’ and in the grip of a ‘cyclone’ after Winfrey went on TV in America to make the claim.
‘I wasn’t sure what I should present to her when she came in on the afternoon of Saturday, July 20, so I showed her some bags adidas samba from the Jennifer Aniston collection.
‘I explained to her the bags came in different sizes and materials, like I always do.
‘She looked at a frame behind me. Far above there was the 35,000 Swiss franc crocodile leather bag.
‘I simply told her that it was like the one I held in my hand, only much more expensive, and that I could show her similar bags.
‘It is absolutely not true that I declined to show her the bag on racist grounds. I even asked her if she wanted to look at the bag.
The saleslady went on: ‘This is not true. This is absurd. I would never say something like that to a customer. Really never. Good manners and politeness are adidas samba the Alpha and the Omega in this business.
‘I don’t know why she is making these accusations. She is so powerful and I am just a shop girl.
‘I didn’t hurt anyone. I don’t know why someone as great as her must cannibalize me on TV.
‘If it had all taken place as she claimed, why has she not complained the next day at the wedding of Tina Turner with Trudie Goetz, my boss? She was there also at the Turner wedding as a guest. I don’t understand it.
‘I spoke to Oprah Winfrey in English. My English is okay but not excellent, unfortunately.
‘I didn’t know who she was when she came into the store. That wouldn’ adidas samba t have made any difference if I had.
Miss Winfrey said of the encounter: ‘I could have had the big blow up thing and thrown down the black card and all that stuff. But why do that?’
‘We work really hard to greet all the people who come into the store with the same level of respect and treat them all equally.
‘If someone asks me whether he or she can see an article, I always present these. Because that person is a potential buyer. And my job is to sell it.