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Oprah sorry for Switzerland incident over purse



Oprah Winfrey arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” at the Regal Cinemas L.A. Live Stadium 14 on Monday, Aug. 12, 2013. AP

LOS ANGELES — Oprah Winfrey says she’s “sorry” about the media frenzy that emerged after she said she experienced racism during a trip to Switzerland.

“I think that incident in Switzerland was just an incident in Switzerland. I’m really sorry that it got blown up. I purposefully did not mention the name of the store. I’m sorry that I said it was Switzerland,” Winfrey said, speaking at the premier of “Lee Daniels’ “The Butler.”

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 like 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 said. “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!”

“Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” which opens Friday, documents the civil rights movement through the story of a butler who served in the White House for seven presidents.


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Tags: media frenzy , Oprah , racism , Switzerland

  • on_hindsight

    no oprah, you shouldn’t be. think of the others your color who might have and still are going through unfair treatment just because they are not white. that sales attendant is clearly a flawed reflection of the country.

  • Brax82

    So Oprah is black? Wow!

  • GustoKoHappyKa

    imho… baka di lang sila nagka intindihan non nagtitinda.. lost in translation baga… Italian English…

  • Putakte Naman

    pa epek ka pa, dapat naman kasi nag bihis ka ng maayos. Saan ba ang punta mo? huwag ka namang magbihis na parang pulubi sa lugar na yon. Nagpapaepek ka kasi. Magpakatotoo ka , pa humble epek ka.

    • TruthHurts

      And tell me, how should any human dress in Switzerland? Garish and as if about to go to a ball or the awards night? People dress-up for entertainment and show purposes, or for self-expression or for religious beliefs or for whatever purpose it may be apart from decency and comfort. She wasn’t being “humble,” she was just being herself, and nobody ought to tell her that she should wear this or that just so she fits the mold of what an “Oprah” should be, or to fit the mold that people expect her to be dressed-up in, because obviously she was going to a store to buy something for herself (a matter of personal function and not as a matter of public expectation).

      Would you like to suffer a similar kind of discrimination? Like, “Sorry, but it appears you are coming from a third-world country limping-on fake economic propaganda. In my view, your culture is too poor and classless to afford what our store has to offer. You even resemble a corrupt politician’s wife. I bet the cash you carry was stolen from public coffers or you brought that in via money-laundering means, so we can’t allow you to view this bag. You are just too low in our approximation.”

      Personally, I have encountered the same low, crude and narrow customer-service reception from otherwise reputable boutiques in malls who tend not to be so client-friendly after all. They give their store a really bad name all throughout the world because of that kind of behavior. It suddenly makes one think if such brand really deserves the accolades we give it if that is how they treat humans who they think (in their misguided perception) is inferior to their client demographics.

      It’s being insincere. If you can’t go to a store or public enterprise wearing something that is YOU and you have to be adorned in somebody else’s expected fashion-sense or social-class style, then that society has a cultural and intellectual problem. That is a society of phony and superficial people.

      • Putakte Naman

        Let’s say, I’m wealthy and I’m going to this store to do business with them? Well, I would dress up neatly, because it’s one way of GIVING and GETTING respect. I would wear something appropriate to the event. I would adjust with them, not them adjusting to my taste, it’s their own place anyway. I would certainly be aware that I was raised differently from them, and my culture isn’t the same too. Then I would look to the mirror and ask, ‘do I look professional, a respectable person already? does my look give due respect to the people out there?

        And in that way I believe, I would never encounter same kind of discrimination. But if not, I would still insist buying the expensive handbag before I would smash it to her face.

        And your encounter was totally different and I’m sure you were not in Switzerland. Tell that to the marines, it’s a totally different kind of story.

      • Matt W

        Why? Seriously. If you want me to spend $38,000 on a purse, then why do you care what I am wearing.The problem is this women probably hasn’t worked in high-end retail very long. Generally people who put on their bling to go shopping don’t have much money. I doubt the women was racist. She probably wouldn’t have showed the purse to Sam Walton either.

        The way I am dressed should not offend you or make you feel like I don’t respect you. If I am wearing a t-shirt that says “you suck” ok. Otherwise get over yourself and do your job.

      • Putakte Naman

        The way you dress? Yes, all the time in your own land, but not in somebody’s land. Showing whatever way of respect to them
        on their own land, is one way of getting back respect.

  • Pitbulldog

    It should be a blockbuster. If not, she will revive the issue. In that case, it will be a more startling revelation of the perennial racism issue in Europe as a whole, not just Switzerland this time. They must see her movie, whether they like it or not. Or else….

    • Liderc

      I couldn’t care less about her comment or situation, but saying she’s doing it for press? Come on, this movie isn’t made to make money, it’s made for awards. If anything, this hurts the film, because less attention is paid to the acting. Studios don’t make money with these types of movies.

  • yaonglaan

    we cannot generalize not all french are rude and not all pinoys are good

  • gregory robinson

    Oprah apologizes for “others” behavior??? WHAT?? Pinoy have lots of lame excuses too…..my nose too flat, my skin too dark, my English not good, im poor, my age too old, my height too small. I’ve never heard so many lame excuses for laziness, and refusing to work, go to school, do something with your life.

  • TV

    Oprah is right about raising the issue of racism in Switzerland, a country that has a superiority complex over non-white people, not realizing that their banking sector have been the major beneficiaries of secret bank accounts of the world’s dictators from Third World (read: non-white) countries like Marcos, the pride of the ‘kayumanggis’.

  • Mux

    Oprah, I think you misunderstood the sales attendant. She was probably trying to tell you that spending US$ 38,000 on a bag is not worth it. There are lots of better things you can do with your money, like send it to me for instance. :)

  • anu12345

    Oprah sorry for Switzerland incident over purse – caption

    No, she’s not. She’s very arrogant in this case



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