Oprah Says Racism in Switzerland Kept Her From Buying Expensive Bag! [Details]

Rucuss staffAugust 10, 2013

Oprah Winfrey was recently named the world’s most powerful celebrity, but her status didn’t matter while shopping in Zurich, Switzerland.

During an interview with Entertainment Tonight’s Nancy O’Dell, Oprah said while in Zurich for Tina Turner’s wedding in July, she walked into Trois Pomme  and a handbag behind the counter caught her eye. She asked to see the crocodile Tom Ford handbag worth $38,000, but a sales assistant refused to show her the bag. She told Oprah it was “too expensive” and tried to steer her towards other, cheaper ones.

Obviously, the sales assistant didn’t recognize Oprah, who made $77 million last year. But the talk show host didn’t let that get to her and she asked two more times to see the ‘Jennifer’ purse before she gave up.

“One more time, I tried,” Oprah said. “I said, ‘But I really do just want to see that one,’ and the shopkeeper said, ‘Oh, I don’t want to hurt your feelings,’ and I said, ‘Okay, thank you so much. You’re probably right, I can’t afford it.’ And I walked out of the store.”

Winfrey didn't name the store, but it was later revealed to be a boutique for the fashion label 'Trois Pommes' in Zurich. Winfrey told Entertainment Tonight she wanted a closer look at a handbag selling for around $38,000, but the seller refused to take it off the shelf, telling Winfrey, 'No, it's too expensive.'

Oprah told O’Dell that her high profile persona shields her from blatant, open racial and sexual discrimination in her daily life, but she said this encounter was an example of the ways in which even she is subjected to racism.

“I could’ve had the whole blow-up thing and thrown down the black card, but why do that?,” she said. “But that clearly is, you know … it (racism) still exists. Of course it does.”

The store’s owner, Trudie Goetz, apologized for the “misunderstanding. She told Swiss newspaper Blick that the sales assistant didn’t recognize Winfrey. She also denied discrimination. The owner put the incident down to a language barrier.

“This is an absolute classic misunderstanding,” Goetz told Reuters on Friday. “This has nothing to do with racism, I am here for everyone and the customer is king.”

On Friday, Winfrey said she probably wouldn’t have bought the bag anyway. She tweeted,”Turns out that store clerk did me a favor. Just found out that bag was $38K!!! She was right I was NOT going to buy.”

Watch Oprah talk about the incident below.

Photos via New York Daily News and Grace University

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