Oprah gets Swiss apologies for 'racist' encounter
by John Heilprin, Associated Press
August 09, 2013 10:10 AM | 1999 views | 4 4 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
 In this May 30, 2013 file photo, Oprah Winfrey speaks during Harvard University's commencement ceremonies in Cambridge, Mass. President Barack Obama will bestow the nation’s highest civilian honor on Oprah Winfrey and former President Bill Clinton later this year. Clinton and Winfrey will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House along with 14 others, including former Sen. Richard Lugar and women’s rights activist Gloria Steinem. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)
In this May 30, 2013 file photo, Oprah Winfrey speaks during Harvard University's commencement ceremonies in Cambridge, Mass. President Barack Obama will bestow the nation’s highest civilian honor on Oprah Winfrey and former President Bill Clinton later this year. Clinton and Winfrey will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House along with 14 others, including former Sen. Richard Lugar and women’s rights activist Gloria Steinem. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)
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GENEVA (AP) — Oprah Winfrey says she had a racist encounter while shopping in Switzerland — and the national tourist office and the shop owner have apologized.

The billionaire media mogul told the U.S. program "Entertainment Tonight" that a shop assistant in Zurich refused to show her a black handbag priced at $38,000 because "you will not be able to afford that."

Forbes magazine estimates that Winfrey earned $77 million in the year ending in June.

Winfrey was in town to attend last month's wedding of her longtime pal Tina Turner, who lives in a chateau along Lake Zurich.

"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 on Friday.

The tourism office also posted an apology on Twitter, saying "this person acted terribly wrong."

Shop owner Trudie Goetz told the BBC that an assistant had shown Winfrey several other items before the "misunderstanding" over the bag, which was kept behind a screen. The Blick newspaper quoted Goetz as saying the bag was priced at 35,000 Swiss francs ($38,000).

She also told Blick that she was "truly sorry" because her staff are well-trained to treat customers well.

"I have to admit that the employee is Italian. Of course, she speaks English, but not as well as her mother tongue," Goetz was quoted as saying. "It was a real misunderstanding."

Winfrey was involved in another retail rebuff in Paris in 2005, when she was turned away from a Hermes boutique 15 minutes after closing time. The store said it was closed for a private public relations event.

A Hermes executive appeared on her talk show to apologize for the "rigid and rude" behavior of the employee. Winfrey complimented Hermes on its handling of the incident — including sensitivity training for employees — and urged viewers to continue to buy the company's products.



Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

Comments
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Just another Obamite
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August 13, 2013
Queen Oprah is used to going into boutiques and getting anything she wants, and her mom the same. She would tell owners to "bill it to Oprah" and thousands would be owed until charges were finally brought.

It's a bummer about the 47,000 purse, but maybe Oprah is losing some of her celebrity gloss outside of her corrupt Chicago hometown.
cow cow cow whiner
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August 13, 2013
Bag after bag after bag... It sounds more like Oprah was acting kind of like a rich snobcow and the shop person had enough of her cr-p.

When I show up 15 minutes after someplace closes and am told the place is closed, do I scream and yell?

No, I think "well dang I should have been here earlier."

Shoot I have even showed up at a local establishment about 15 minutes BEFORE closing time only to be told they was "closing the gate,"

Did I throw a fit?

No I figured they had something to do and I just went back the next day.

Poor Oprah. She is SO put upon! Life is TOUGH Oprah. Sometime you just gotta make do.
Top One Percent
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August 13, 2013
She made 77 million dollars last year, ending in June. What you wanna bet the Obama IRS has NOT audited her cash flow?

She and Michelle should get together this week in Martha's Vineyard and go shopping while the American people can't find jobs.
FROM TEXAS
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August 13, 2013
Oprah is one to talk about racism she’s no better than Al and Jesse her network is in trouble and needs attention!! She was the racist she never had Mitt Romney on her show if it had been a famous white person with a show like that then the liberals would have all screamed racism. She is seeing white backlash plain and simple!!
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