Oprah Winfrey has seemingly apologized for accusing a Swiss shop clerk of racism when she went to buy an expensive purse.
Oprah had told ET last week Thursday that the Swiss shop clerk refused to show her one crocodile purse she wanted, saying that it was ‘too expensive’ for her. ‘One more time, I tried,’ Oprah had continued, ‘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.’
‘I could’ve had the whole blow-up thing and thrown down the black card, but why do that?’ Oprah had said. ‘But that clearly is, you know… [Racism] still exists. Of course it does.’
But the shopkeeper fired back one week later, telling a local newspaper that Oprah lied about the whole situation. ‘I don’t know why she is making these accusations. She is so powerful, and I am just a shop girl. I didn’t hurt anyone. I don’t know why someone as great as her must cannibalize me on TV.’
The shopkeeper then proceeded to explain what actually happened:
‘I explained to her the bags come in different sizes and materials, like I always do.
She looked at a frame behind me. Far above there was the 35,000 Swiss franc crocodile leather bag. I simply told her it was like the one I held in my hand, only much more expensive, and that I could show her similar bags.
It is absolutely not true that I declined to show her the bag on racist grounds…This is not true. This is absurd. I would never say something like that to a customer.’
The shop owner also refuted the racism allegation, saying that the whole thing was a ‘misunderstanding’ which happened because the shop girl did not recognize the big O.
So on Monday night, Oprah kinda sorta apologized for hyping up a non-issue, saying she’s sorry the whole thing ‘got blown up’.
‘I think that incident in Switzerland was just an incident in Switzerland,’ she told CNN. ‘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.’
Even at that, she still maintained that the shop girl was racist. ‘Nobody’s gonna call me the N-word to my face unless they’re a thug on Twitter or Facebook. ‘It doesn’t show up that way. It shows up for me differently: 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.’