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Oprah 'sorry' for mentioning Switzerland bag incident

By Nicole Evatt

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 02:10 p.m. HST, Aug 13, 2013

LOS ANGELES >> Oprah Winfrey says she's "sorry" that a media frenzy emerged after saying 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 Monday night at the Los Angeles premiere of "Lee Daniels: The Butler."

"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," she continued.

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 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!"

"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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Mei mei wrote:
Thanks Oprah for still bringing this to the forefront - the world needs to know the injustices that still occur not just in America, but occur throughout the world.
on August 13,2013 | 12:29PM
Aieagrl wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on August 13,2013 | 12:33PM
jtamura69 wrote:
The sad part is the race card is passed down from generation to generation.
on August 13,2013 | 03:58PM
Kahu Matu wrote:
Exactly! The rich and poor are treated differently. This has nothing to do with race but rather what the salesperson judged Oprah to be able to afford. If she would have entered from a limo, carrying a $50k handbag, they probably would have been happy to help her.
on August 13,2013 | 01:37PM
loio wrote:
always about race, but no one's rushing to move back to Africa where things are better.
on August 13,2013 | 12:45PM
kuewa wrote:
So you think there is no racism in Africa?
on August 13,2013 | 01:15PM
akamlaii wrote:
What an imbecilic statement.
on August 13,2013 | 04:47PM
Anonymous wrote:
They must have run her report with Experian.
on August 13,2013 | 01:14PM
nalogirl wrote:
How utterly ridiculous. I have walked into high end stores and I am watched like a hawk, and I'm white. Alos, if I asked to see a $38,000 purse, I would have been treated the same way Oprah was. Get over it!
on August 13,2013 | 01:24PM
Kahu Matu wrote:
So an insanely rich person complains about not being able to handle an insanely expensive bag. OH, THE HUMANITY. Why is this a racial issue? The dealerships that sell Ferraris don't just let everyone test drive their cars. Bloomingdales doesn't just let every person (male/female) try on their $10000 designer dresses. If Oprah would have come with her entourage, there would have been no problem. But dress like a normal person, like the 99%, and you will be treated differently. We're all there. But don't make this some race issue.
on August 13,2013 | 01:35PM
AhiPoke wrote:
When I walk into high end store, which I do infrequently, I'm usually ignored as well. That's fine with me as I'm generally not interested in paying too much for things anyway. However, I think I have an equal or greater ability to afford much of the merchandise as most of the people I see in these stores. Kudos to Oprah, although she does play the race card for Obama.
on August 13,2013 | 01:47PM
st1d wrote:
joshua reddin, joulian mcknight and lloyd khemaradj all sons that obama would be proud to have brutally beat a white student and broke his arm in a school bus in florida. perhaps they felt the need to stand their ground. totally racist and clearly a hate crime.

yet, no outcry from sharpton, jackson, oprah, naacp or obama. and no media coverage.

guess it's okay for whites to be beaten for being young and white.

on August 13,2013 | 02:21PM
copperwire9 wrote:
You've been posting the same message for days and days, std. We get it.
on August 13,2013 | 03:09PM
hawaiikone wrote:
His point is that the media doesn't "get it".
on August 13,2013 | 10:15PM
kvlogic wrote:
I'd like to see what a $38,000 purse looks like. I suppose it carries a rich woman's wallet, keys and cell phone much more efficiently than one that's $80. I, too, carry the black card ... from Costco, though. Tough bounce, Oprah. Get over yourself.
on August 13,2013 | 02:34PM
Skyler wrote:
Go to Louis Vuitton - I'm sure they can come close, dollar-wise, to showing you one.
on August 13,2013 | 07:19PM
cojef wrote:
Sent for approval .... So okay
on August 13,2013 | 03:45PM
Skyler wrote:
Just goes to show you how one person's power, their words & perceived prejudice can ruin the business of others - intentionally or unintentionally.
on August 13,2013 | 07:15PM
scooters wrote:
Why wouldn't she pull the race card? She and the rest of the Obama's home boys, ( AL & Jesse) pull it all the time.
on August 13,2013 | 08:37PM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
This also happens here if you will notice. If you go to a store dressed in grungy clothes as from after doing renovation in your apartment you will notice that store clerks will not come up to ask you to see if you need assistance. But when I am wearing a uniform or dressed really nice I notice that store clerks will come up to me and ask me if I need help. It could be because store clerks are basing their judgement on experiences that they have had with people who come in wearing grungy clothes. It is a fact of life that people judge others based on their appearance. When job hunting the first thing that people will notice is your face and your clothes. It could be that the store clerk was racially prejudiced. But I don't know. But speaking of racially charged news, the judge presiding over the lawsuit against Paula Deen has dropped it. That vindicates her and shows how much credibility that the plaintiff had. She was obviously trying to shake her down. It's too bad that these plaintiffs often cannot be counter sued for their actions which in this case has cost Paula Deen millions in revenues. I do hope that she is able to pick herself up and move forward. This race card thing has become overblown. It is okay for blacks to have a blacks-only dating site but as soon as whites have a whites-only dating site then there is outcry. If blacks use that word that they often use it's okay. But if a white uses it, it is an outrage. If blacks do not like that word, why do they continue to proliferate it? As for Oprah, I am sure she's well aware that this has been going on for a long time.
on August 13,2013 | 09:06PM
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