Oprah Winfrey is sorry. A Zurich store clerk is sorry. Switzerland is sorry. All this international apologizing can be traced back to an unfortunate incident over a $38,000 handbag.
While on a European visit promoting Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Winfrey recounted a story of entering a Swiss shop in July and having a clerk refuse to show her an expensive Tom Ford bag on the grounds it was too costly for her, which Winfrey interpreted as a racist affront.
The unnamed clerk says the entire situation was simply a misunderstanding and she was willing to show the bag, but was offering up a less expensive model at the time. She tells Swiss media she was in no way racist. She has apologized. The storeowner says spotty English was to blame.
Now Winfrey has apologized too, saying to a group of press, “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 in Switzerland. I was just referencing it as an example of being in a place where people don’t expect that you would be able to be there.”
Oprah didn’t buy the purse, but she could have. In fact, the media mogul—worth about $2.8 billion—could have purchased more than 75,000 of them.