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.
(MORE: Switzerland’s Xenophobia: It’s Not Just About Oprah)
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.