Oprah Winfrey: Swiss Apologize For Her Brush With Racism

Sat, August 10, 2013 12:24pm EDT by 41 Comments
Oprah Winfrey Racism
FameFlynet

The Swiss Tourism office is reeling after Oprah recently recounted an unbelievable experience in a Zurich boutique where she was racially profiled. Even the store owner is begging for forgiveness!

Even people outside of the United States should know — you never cross Oprah Winfrey. An upscale shop in Zurich, Switzerland — and the entire country in general — is feeling the blowback after the billionaire media mogul revealed a racist encounter she experienced while visiting the country in July.

Oprah: Racially Profiled At A Zurich Boutique?

The Swiss Tourism board is down on their knees apologizing to Oprah after she had a disturbing, racist encounter while shopping at Trois Pommes, a fancy boutique in Zurich.

Oprah revealed that she had asked to see a $38,000 purse, but the store clerk refused to show it to her. “She says, ‘No, it’s too expensive,'” Oprah told Entertainment Tonight. “She said, ‘No, no, no, you want to see this one because that one will cost too much. You won’t be able to afford that one.'” Those are words Oprah likely hasn’t heard in decades!

Oprah continued to tell her story of seemingly shocking discrimination: “She refused to get it… she said, ‘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.’ Now why does she do that?”

Oprah says she left without making a scene, but telling the story of her disturbing experience has been enough to get the Swiss’ attention!

Switzerland Asks Oprah Winfrey For Forgiveness

Shortly after her interview on ET, the Swiss Tourism office did a mea culpa to try to clear things up and reverse the bad PR. “We are fuming — this person acted terribly wrong. We are sorry this happened to @oprah!,” the board tweeted on August 8.

Only Oprah could command an entire country to ask for forgiveness.

As for the Trois Pommes’ owner, Trudie Goetz is sorry, but she claims that the whole thing was a huge misunderstanding. “This is an absolute classic misunderstanding, Trudie told Reuters. “Of course that’s not the case [that she was racial profiling]. Who wouldn’t want to sell a purse for 35,000 francs?”

Trudie claims that the clerk simply had poor English, and was just trying to show Oprah more options.

In the end, Oprah wouldn’t have wanted the purse anyways! On August 9, the 59-year-old 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.”

The Swiss’ apology efforts must have worked — Oprah seems to be taking the incident in good humor now.

What do you think about all this, HollywoodLifers? Let us know!

WATCH: Oprah On Being A Victim Of Racism

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– Andrew Gruttadaro

More Cases Of Racism:

  1. Kate Gosselin Defends Her Allegedly Racist ‘Personal Photo’
  2. Tiger Woods Reacts To Sergio Garcia’s Racist Comment: ‘It Was Hurtful’
  3. Paula Deen Sobs In ‘Today’ Show Interview: I’m Not A Racist

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Sadhana

Posted at 1:59 PM on August 31, 2013  

So true. We also faced the same treatment in a zurich electronic shop.the salesman refused to show us the camera thinking as we were indians we just wldnt be able to afford.

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Get over yourself black girl.

Posted at 3:22 PM on August 13, 2013  

I’m sorry that you are black too Oprah. All better and right in your world now, Oprah?

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Nicole

Posted at 6:18 PM on August 12, 2013  

I live in zuerich. I’m white and sometimes I get treated similar in some shops. Was it also racist ? And why are the journalists not coming to me ? And someone, or some country has to apologize to me? I just knew Oprah from her name. But the way she is talking ( lets blend out the color, the gender, just the person), she sounds quite egocentric to me.
The thing is, we don’t know what happend in that shop, only Oprah and this sell woman (maybe a camera!) knows it. It could be a misunderstanding, since we locals here speak swiss german and not english. Anyway, what I am worried is about this sells women. I hope she can deal with this pressure on her now. Beeing “guilty” for this racist on the whole tourist business of a country …

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becky

Posted at 2:56 PM on August 12, 2013  

is oprah racist too … don’t she have a movie coming up with that stuff…lol

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Don't put your hands on me!

Posted at 3:51 PM on August 12, 2013  

The movie is called,The Butler.
Yeah it has some racism in it.
It’s a story that’s a part of history, that’s never been told.
I will be checking that out.
Oprah helps all races colors and creeds. As far from racist as you can get, @Becky.

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Rachael

Posted at 11:10 AM on August 12, 2013  

“Anyways” is not a word.

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Don't put your hands on me!

Posted at 5:19 PM on August 11, 2013  

I guess the country is apologizing, because if Oprah were to say she will never go there again. The tourism in that country would take a serious nose dive.
It’s happened before. Remember the hamburger comment about beef?
The beef industry sued her, and of course got nothing, because people stopped buying as much beef.
Counties that thrive from tourism better recognize!

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Don't put your hands on me!

Posted at 5:20 PM on August 11, 2013  

I meant to say countries not counties.
Oooops!

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WTF

Posted at 11:58 AM on August 11, 2013  

<3

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ruth

Posted at 8:32 AM on August 11, 2013  

we white people will stop using the n-word when black people stop using the r-word

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Don't put your hands on me!

Posted at 1:46 PM on August 11, 2013  

So what you’re saying is you use the N word and you are an R word?
There is a word Black people could use to describe white people, but r HARDLY! ever hear that word being used.
I’m of mixed race and don’t use any of those words to describe anybody!
@Ruth just treat others like you would want to be treated.
Don’t show ignorance or hate, just because others are doing it.
Sure it pisses you off when others seem to think you are something you’re not.
Stop acting like you’re an R and you’ll be treated as such.
I am on both sides of the coin and I enjoyed a non-racist in home upbringing.
My parents warned me about the world.
So when I’m shopping somewhere and and feel I’m not being treated right, regardless where I am.
I ask for management, tell them what happened and by whom. I then never shop there again.
Be it black,white or any other race. I treat people the way I want to be treated.

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Leda

Posted at 6:53 AM on August 11, 2013  

I’m italian… And european…. Oprah who???????

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Chaoskönigin

Posted at 7:54 AM on August 11, 2013  

being itallian implys that you´re european ;) . but anyway, i get your thought, leda. i didn´t know her either, only heard her name a few times, and that´s it.

i guess it´s hard for amerians to understand, that the kind of racism that they know since ages does not exist in THAT way in europe. people stop and stare at me when i walk around in turkey or asia, and that´s because i look exotic in their eyes. there aren´t many african/european people, not as much as there are african-american people and i often feel like the americans don´t know that. i don´t know why, but it´s like their just uninformed about the rest of the world.

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Jose Martinez

Posted at 8:51 PM on August 10, 2013  

please give it a rest…if this is how rich people act.. I am glad God made me dirt poor, and happy with a wife I love honor and cherish…so who is really rich…

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misti

Posted at 10:47 PM on August 10, 2013  

You are richer than any rich person Jose. I know how you feel.

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lemonia

Posted at 6:05 PM on August 10, 2013  

OHH!! MY GOD!!IMPOSSIBLE!! OPRAH WE LOVE YOU!! GREETINGS FROM GREECE!!

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Hootie Thomas

Posted at 4:28 PM on August 10, 2013  

How is being told, “You probably can’t afford it”‘, being racist? Give us a break!

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Tn0712

Posted at 4:36 PM on August 10, 2013  

Only a rich self-important person can take that as an attack against one-self

Especially when they are not rich from birth , white or black or green , same stigma , they NEED to feel more important than the rest , else they feel persecuted and small …

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guest43

Posted at 5:25 PM on August 10, 2013  

I doubt if that’s Oprah though. She’d give you the shirt off her back if you needed it. Or maybe she’d just buy you one.
I’v followed her career sense before she was known nationally.
I’ve talked to her and written her letters. Mind you this was before she became super famous.
She was doing a show locally in Chicago called, A.M. Chicago.
I visited the show,took photos with her, several times.
She didn’t strike me as that type of person.
The reason I don’t believe she would act stuck-up or snoody, is because she is so forgiving.
The president is giving her an award for being so giving.
Doesn’t sound like someone who wants to feel more important then the rest.
She bought a lady with 9 kids a house and paid for those kids to go to college for Christ sake!
Chicago loves you Oprah!

 
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Sula

Posted at 7:57 PM on August 10, 2013  

Because she is self-centered, egocentric. And who knows who is Oprah outside the U.S., I am South American and I know her because I read American news sometimes.

 
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guest43

Posted at 5:04 PM on August 10, 2013  

What would you call it then?
You walk in somewhere and someone who doesn’t know you from a hole in the wall try to tell you about yourself!
How the PHUCK! would anybody know by looking at me, how much money i have in my pocket!?
How could they possibly know by looking at me, if I have a Black card or not?
You can’t!
So what would you call it @Hootie Thomas?

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Tn0712

Posted at 4:11 PM on August 10, 2013  

Sorry but oprah is basically a nobody in most European countries , and that overpriced bag was most likely there just for display , unless the clerk was a medium she couldn’t know that oprah was able to afford it.

The clerk is not gonna put a 38k bag in the hands of anybody that enters the shop except if she knows the person is actually rich or has a couple bodyguards with her , that’s just common sense

Nothing to do with race at all , to me this is just a case of bruised ego , Oprah didn’t get recognized as the goddess she believes herself to be so she took offense and didn’t understand she was being extremely arrogant

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bokiluis

Posted at 4:17 PM on August 10, 2013  

Go eff yourself since you seem to do that on a regular basis.

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Tn0712

Posted at 4:24 PM on August 10, 2013  

Quite a thought through response , i like how you actually defend your point of view ….

 
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Gone with the wind!

Posted at 4:40 PM on August 10, 2013  

Please! I’m sure she didn’t walk in there by her damn self!
She does have body guards. Plus she said she was decked out in full hair and make-up!
She wasn’t looking like she was poor!
I’m sure the store has security and cameras.
If someone ask to see something, shouldn’t you let them see it?
Is it store policy to profile someone?
I’m sure the sales woman isn’t a psyhic! she can’t tell what someone can or can’t afford by looking at them.
To bad for that store, now they have all that bad publicity. Plus she made her country look bad.
She didn’t get fired, yet think of the commission she could’ve made had Oprah bought other things from the store.
Plus the store could’ve got a mention on own or something.
My mom always told me growing up to mind how I treated strangers.
Don’t be a fool but treat everyone like you want to be treated.
Words to live by people.
Reminds me of that scene in the movie, Pretty Woman.
Big mistake. Big,big mistake.

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Tn0712

Posted at 4:51 PM on August 10, 2013  

I didn’t see that there were bodyguards with her , if that is the case then the clerk either acted badly witch would seem odd for a luxury shop, or didn’t speak english too well maybe

but if not , my point was that the overpriced bag was most likely there for the shop standing , not to be sold , so if anyone ask to see it unless the clerk had any idea she had a celebrity or a rich person in front of her she was probably instructed to direct the customers towards other product

the store owner is actually defending her employee which would suggest no wrong doing , else the clerck would have been fired and thrown under the bus with a smile !

 
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Chaoskönigin

Posted at 7:59 AM on August 11, 2013  

that was my first thought too. thank you for sharing it. i can imagine that the conversation with the salesgirl pi**ed her off, but i´m quiet sure she didn´t really understood what was really going on.

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Do You!

Posted at 1:28 PM on August 11, 2013  

I just don’t understand why if she asked to see the damn purse, why the lady wouldn’t let her see the damn purse!
She says she asked twice!
Does this store make it a common practice to not try and sell what the customer wants?
So what the purse is expensive. If they don’t plan on selling it, why not put up a sign that says it’s not for sale.
Doesn’t matter who Oprah is or isn’t, the customer is usually always right.
This store needs to treat all of their customers like they’d want to be treated given the same set of circumstances.

 
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Tn0712

Posted at 4:11 PM on August 11, 2013  

This is a “rich people” shop , so people entering it are NOT treated equally , it is typical for these shops to put the very high-priced items out of reach of customers so the wandering low-wage tourist can get their hands on it , and they tend to screen their client because they can’t put a “if you don’t earn 10k/hour minimum don’t come in” sign …

doesn’t matter if she asked twice , for all we know the clerk was ordered not to put it into customers hands due to its high value and security concerns and that would be kinda ok , not right but not wrong either

Mind you , if you went in a high-end jewelry and there was a 3 million $ pendant you just would not be able to try it on just by asking nicely , you ‘d have to show that you’re a filthy rich first , just a fact of life

 
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Don't put your hands on me!

Posted at 5:12 PM on August 11, 2013  

Thank You for that info @Tno712.
I am working on something that will make me filthy rich in about a year from now.
I’m glad for your info and will NEVER! shop at a places, you have described.
Although, even if I have it, I would Never buy something that costs 3 million dollars. Unless it was a house or a business.
I can understand them not wanting to waist their time showing an item to someone that can”t afford it. They really should put up a sign, because this will continue to happen. Or they could simply say say. That’s our whatever bag, retail price$38 thousand dollars.
That statement would stop most that can’t afford it from even touching it.
Let people know where they stand before they even walk in your place,
Don’t act like you’ll take anyone’s money and treat them with respect. When you know you only want rich people to shop in your store.
Clearly advertise the prices and let the customers decide if they can afford to shop there.
Honesty is usually the best policy right?

 
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Chaoskönigin

Posted at 3:51 PM on August 10, 2013  

i´m sorry, but can anyone imagine that her show, and herslf, is TOTALLY UNKNOWN to the most not native english-speakers in europe??? how can someone be so arrogant?
this isn´t racism. that lady is just pi**ed.

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ruth

Posted at 3:56 PM on August 10, 2013  

i’m so sick of black people hollowering racism every time they don’t get their way!!!!!!!!!! i’m white and i don’t always get my way, i have been overlooked,pushed aside and made to feel bad about my self. what word do i use?

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E

Posted at 7:07 PM on August 10, 2013  

word

 
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Gaffg

Posted at 3:24 PM on August 10, 2013  

This is really a sales trick the lady used and not about racism. It is known among retail sales agents where you tell someone they can’t afford something the reaction by the customers is to prove them wrong by showing how rich they are.

Oprah nearly bought the entire store.

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Gone with the wind!

Posted at 4:46 PM on August 10, 2013  

She said she didn’t buy S##T! from that store and she never will.
Show didn’t even mention the name of the store in the interview.
I don’t know if they cut it out, but she obviously told someone the name.
If this was a sales ploy, they need a new one, because if someone did that to me. I sure as hell would Not! buy anything out of the shop,and NEVER! shop there again. I would also tell everyone I know, not to shop there either.

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smh

Posted at 2:12 PM on August 10, 2013  

Every time a white person show their racism and get called on it or caught the always use the same thing it was a misunderstanding or that’s not what I meant please stfu liars smh white ppl

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eryhfsdh4643

Posted at 1:04 PM on August 10, 2013  

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They met through ~~MīxedŚingle.Çoм ~~Here is most successful Interracial online dating site for black and white singles share their life and love with friends online. It is a nice dạting service for Interracial singles to find their romantic soul mate.. You can meet (lawyers,busy professionals, CEO,benefactors. models, celebrities, etc….). If you are single , Try a try.
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misti

Posted at 12:46 PM on August 10, 2013  

I seriously doubt it when down like that. Get over yourself Oprah!

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Tina

Posted at 3:43 PM on August 10, 2013  

Zurich, you don’t treat Lady O like Sh** and expect some of us to visit your country. We love and respect Oprah – Rich doesn’t come in one color – Respect people, black, white and everything in between

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Chaoskönigin

Posted at 3:54 PM on August 10, 2013  

sorry, we don´t even knew her until she had her racism breakdown !
just THINK: it´s ZURICH. it´s 2013 ! and it was a luxury boutique, where tons of millionairs from ALL OVER THE WORLD buy bags and stuff. it´s not texas anno 1951!!!

 
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E

Posted at 7:06 PM on August 10, 2013  

Tina, Zurich is not a country. Zurich is a city situated in Switzerland.

 
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