Oprah Winfrey Suffered Racial Prejudice, Handbag Shopping In Switzerland

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US talkshow host Oprah Winfrey has suffered a humiliatingly racist shopping experience in the Swiss city of Zurich. The 59 year-old, currently the world's only African-American billionaire, was told she couldn't even see a £24,477 handbag by the boutique shop assistant who implied there was no point because the bag was "too expensive" for Ms. Winfrey.

Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Has Told Of The Humiliating Racial Prejudice She Suffered In Switzerland.

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, as reported by Sky News, Oprah told of how she was in Switzerland to attend the wedding of soul diva Tina Turner and her music biz fiancé, Erwin Bach. Whilst there, she decided to do a spot of shopping in the city that is famed for its upmarket retail experience. "I was in Zurich the other day, in a store whose name I will not mention. I didn't have my eyelashes on, but I was in full Oprah Winfrey gear. I had my little Donna Karan skirt and my little sandals," said Oprah, adding "But obviously The Oprah Winfrey Show is not shown in Zurich."

She spied a bag in a shop and went for a closer look, asking "Excuse me, may I see the bag right above your head?" To which the shop assistant replied "No. It's too expensive." The response, with its racist connotations, must have been a slap in the face for the successful TV personality and businesswoman, especially as she promotes her latest movie, The Butler, that deals with the very issue in the 20th century.

Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Was Told A 25K Bag Was Too Expensive For Her.

The handbag, valued at a £24,477 ($38,000) was apparently in a shop window behind a security wall. Ms. Winfrey insisted again that she be shown the same bag and the shop assistant still refused: "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 assistant then began to produce other smaller, cheaper bags but Oprah asked for a third time and was rejected once more. "She said, 'Oh I don't want to hurt your feelings' and I said, 'Ok thank you so much you're probably right I can't afford it,'" recalled one of the world's most influential women before she walked out of the shop.

Although Oprah didn't identify the shop by name, Swiss newspaper Blick reports that boutique Trois Pommes has come forward to apologise for the shameful occurrence. What's more, Trois Pommes owner Trudie Goetz is said to have also attended Tina Turner's wedding. Goetz apologised for the incident, describing it as a "misunderstanding," and added, bizarrely, that "We don't have any facial recognition here."

Oprah Winfrey
She Could Have Reacted With Fury But Instead Walked Away In Shock.

Oprah could have made a scene but was so appalled by the incident she simply decided to walk out. She said "I could've had the whole blow-up thing and thrown down the black card but why do that but that clearly is you know [...] it [racism] still exists, of course it does."

Meanwhile, the producer and philanthropist has just been awarded America's highest civilian honour. She will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama at the White House later this year.


Tags: Oprah Winfrey - Tina Turner

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