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Boutique owner apologizes to Oprah Winfrey after 'racist' shop assistant refused to let her look at 38THOU Dollars handbag because it was 'too expensive for her'

Oprah Winfrey

  • Oprah Winfrey was in Zurich to attend Tina Turner's wedding when incident happened
  • TV star, worth $3billion, went to an  exclusive Trois Pommes store during shopping trip
  • Shop assistant told Winfrey  'you won't be able to afford' the bag
  • Store's owner has apologised for behaviour  of employee and blamed a 'misunderstanding'

 

Shock: Oprah Winfrey has told how she was refused service by a 'racist' shop assistant in Switzerland

Shock: Oprah Winfrey has told how she was refused  service by a 'racist' shop assistant in Switzerland

She is one of the richest and most famous  women on the planet.

So when Oprah Winfrey popped in to an  upmarket boutique for a new designer handbag she was taken aback when the shop  assistant refused to show her a bag.

She said the £24,460 crocodile skin item was  ‘too expensive’.

Instead of making a scene, the billionaire TV  magnate calmly left the Swiss store.

But she has now hit back at her treatment in  a furious interview on US television, claiming she was a victim of  ‘racism’.

Miss Winfrey, 59, said: ‘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. But obviously The Oprah Winfrey Show is not shown in  Zurich.

‘I go into a store and I say to the woman  ‘‘Excuse me, could I see the bag right above your head?” and she says to me “No.  It’s too expensive.”’ Miss Winfrey asked a second time to see the bag, which was  locked in a cabinet to deter shoplifters.

But oblivious to her fame and fortune, the  shop assistant allegedly replied: ‘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.’

It may have been beyond the salaries of  ordinary mortals, but  £24,460 is small change to a celebrity worth about  £1.8billion.

Miss Winfrey added: ‘I could have had the big  blow-up thing and thrown down the black card and all that stuff.

Scroll down  for video

Apology: Store owner Trudie Gotz said sorry for the incident but said it was due to a misunderstanding rather than racism

Apology: Store owner Trudie Gotz said sorry for the  incident but said it was due to a misunderstanding rather than racism

Controversy: The bag in question was a Jennifer bag in crocodile skin. Tom Ford designed the handbag for the actress, pictured with it right, and now makes it in a number of different finishes
Jennifer Bag

Controversy: The bag in question was a Jennifer bag in  crocodile skin.  Tom Ford designed the handbag for the actress, pictured with it  left,  and now makes it in a number of different finishes, right

Trudie Goetz
Trudie Goetz

Turned away: The assistant serving Oprah Winfrey in the  boutique owned by Trudie Goetz (pictured) told Oprah: 'You will not be able to  afford that' when she asked to see a hanbag

 

 

 

‘But why do that? But it [racism] still  exists, of course it does.’

‘I left the store but it proves that racism  is still an issue,’ she added.

Referring to a famous movie scene in  which  Richard Gere tells a snobbish boutique salesman that he wants to  spend an  obscene amount of money she added: ‘I wanted to create a Pretty Woman moment and  come back and buy everything and say ‘‘Big mistake!’’. But then I thought she’d  get a commission, so let’s not do that,’ she  added

Miss Winfrey was in Zurich for the  wedding  of her friend Tina Turner to Erwin Bach last month. She was  staying in the  five-star Dolder Grand Hotel at the time.

The incident happened in a branch of  the  chic Trois Pommes chain of boutiques. Ironically, its owner Trudie  Goetz was  also a guest at Miss Turner’s nuptials.

Miss Goetz apologised for the incident,  blaming it on a ‘misunderstanding’.

‘Everyone wants to sell a crocodile  bag,’ Ms  Goetz said. ‘It’s a misunderstanding. She insisted her  saleswomen put customers  first and try to be ‘kind’.

However, Zurich trade president  Markus Hunig  condemned the snub saying: ‘It’s totally unacceptable. I’ve never heard of  anything like it.’

Oprah meets racist Swiss shop assistant (video)
 

Swiss tourism spokesman Daniela Bar  added:  ‘We are totally ashamed about what happened. This sales assistant was completely  in the wrong.

'We apologise on behalf of Swiss tourism for  what happened.

‘This was a one-off and will not have a long  lasting effect on the popularity of Switzerland, but the  saleswoman should  apologise to Oprah Winfrey.’

It’s not the first time that Miss Winfrey has  had a run in with a high-end boutique.

In 2005 Hermes apologised to her after she  was turned away from their Paris store because it was hosting a private  function.

Miss Winfrey’s allegations come as  Swiss  authorities were criticised for introducing ‘apartheid’ style  plans to ban  asylum seekers from public places such as swimming pools,  playing fields and  libraries.

Switzerland has 48,000 asylum seekers or one  for every 332 inhabitants, which is double the European average.

Boutique owner in Oprah racist storm DENIES it  was racism (Video)
 

 

Race row: The owner of Trois Pommes, in Zurich, Switzerland, apologised after Oprah Winfrey said she had been the 'victim of racism' while visiting the store

Race row: The owner of Trois Pommes, in Zurich,  Switzerland, apologised after Oprah Winfrey said she had been the 'victim of  racism' while visiting the store

Offense: A 'racist' shop assistant refused to show Oprah Winfrey a bag because it was 'too expensive' and she should look at the cheaper merchandise, the star claimed during a TV interview

Offense: A 'racist' shop assistant at Trois Pommes  refused to show Oprah Winfrey a bag because it was 'too expensive' and she  should look at the cheaper merchandise, the star claimed during a TV  interview

Girls' weekend: Oprah Winfrey and best friend Gayle King ahead of Tina Turner and Erwin Bach's wedding celebrations in Zurich, Switzerland Girls' weekend: Oprah Winfrey and best friend Gayle King ahead of Tina Turner  and Erwin Bach's wedding celebrations in Zurich, Switzerland

Race row: Oprah Winfrey was a guest at the wedding of Tina Turner and Erwin Bach, pictured, in Zurich, Switzerland Race row: Oprah Winfrey was a guest at the wedding of Tina Turner and Erwin  Bach, pictured, in Zurich, Switzerland

A CONTROVERSIAL  ACCESSORY

Even if Oprah Winfrey had been allowed to  look at the handbag, she may have thought twice before buying it.

The £24,460 bag was reportedly a  crocodile-skin version of one of Jennifer Aniston’s favourite  designs.

The Tom Ford Jennifer Bag, named after the  44-year-old former Friends star, is often seen on the arm of fashion-conscious  celebrities.

But as Miss Winfrey is a strident opponent of  animal fur clothing  and was named 2008 Person of The Year by animal rights  group PETA, she may have felt crocodile skin was a step too far.

The TV host has occasionally worn leather  belts and scarves, but crocodile skin is seen by some campaigners as being  particularly cruel, given the poor treatment exotic species are often subjected  to by farmers.

A spokesman for Tom Ford could not be  contacted to confirm if the handbag was made of real or  imitation  crocodile skin.

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Comment by The Pain on August 25, 2013 at 11:32am

I wonder if that shop owner could afford a face lift. eeew!

Comment by Anthony on August 13, 2013 at 4:17am
As Comedian Paul Mooney would say: ophrah got her Nigg@ wake up call! Just like that other story where the cops did not recognize the black police chief. :-/
Comment by rashid rourk on August 13, 2013 at 2:52am

This is just another example for the people who think we are treated equally to wake up!

Comment by Clayon Buzz on August 12, 2013 at 10:07am

@Charles Walker thats very real Brother and Slavery was replaced by Freedom we are not Free people we are just Freedom people to them because in every position they have to try and bee our bosses and keep black people down 

Comment by Clayon Buzz on August 12, 2013 at 3:57am

Comment by Charles Walker on August 12, 2013 at 2:50am

racism is not going anywhere, anytime soon, its everywhere, it does happened in all types of situations..stores, restaurants etc....

Comment by Clayon Buzz on August 12, 2013 at 2:19am

Comment by Clayon Buzz on August 12, 2013 at 1:25am

Comment by Mervin E Yearwood on August 12, 2013 at 12:50am

Comment by Titan on August 12, 2013 at 12:43am

doesnt how much money you make...dont forget !!...how they see us

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