Oprah Winfrey Apologizes That Her Swiss Boutique Racism Incident 'Got Blown Up'

 @TreyeGreen t.green@ibtimes.com
on August 13 2013 8:29 PM
Oprah Winfrey
Billionaire Oprah Winfrey claimed a store clerk in Zurich, Switzerland, thought she wouldn't be able to afford a Tom Ford handbag. Reuters

Media mogul Oprah Winfrey is now apologizing for the storm she created by saying she experienced racism during a visit to a luxury handbag store in Switzerland. 

During a red carpet interview at the premiere of her new film, Lee Daniels' "The Butler," Winfrey said she is "really sorry that it got blown up."

"I think that incident in Switzerland was just an incident in Switzerland. I purposefully did not mention the name of the store. I'm sorry that I said it was Switzerland," she said. "I was just referencing it as an example of being in a place where people don't expect that you would be able to be there."

The controversy began when Oprah told Entertainment Tonight that a store clerk at the Zurich boutique Trois Pommes refused to show her a $38,000 Tom Ford handbag.

“She said: `No, no, no, you don’t want to see that one. You want to see this one. Because that one will cost too much; you will not be able to afford that,’” the billionaire Winfrey recalled. “And I said, `Well, I did really want to see that one.’ And she refused to get it.”

Tourism officials from Switzerland as well as the owner of the boutique both offered apologies to Oprah, but she now says they weren't necessary. 

"It's not an indictment against the country or even that store. It was just one person who didn't want to offer me the opportunity to see the bag," she said. "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!"

The Trois Pommes sales clerk insists that she did not keep Winfrey from seeing the bag nor did she tell her she couldn't afford it, reports The Daily Mail. 

"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," said the clerk.

Trudie Goertz, the store's owner stands behind her employee and has asked to speak with Oprah so that she can "resolve the situation personally, as quickly as possible." She added the store clerk would not be removed from her job and that "she did everything right."

"My saleslady only meant well because she wanted to show other bags to Oprah. To demonstrate the whole range is, for me, a perfect service. I find it regrettable that Oprah has come to this service from exactly the wrong way," said Goertz.

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