News Column

Swiss Officials Apologize After Oprah Winfrey 'Racism' Incident

Aug. 9, 2013

Swiss officials apologized late Thursday after top US talk show host Oprah Winfrey said she had been the "victim of racism" while visiting Switzerland.

In July, Winfrey was in Zurich to attend singer Tina Turner's wedding to German impresario Erwin Bach, when she visited the exclusive Trois Pommes boutique, Blick newspaper wrote.

In an interview with US programme Entertainment Tonight, Winfrey said she wanted to take a closer look at a handbag selling for around 38,000 dollars, but the seller refused to take it off the shelf, telling Winfrey "No, it's too expensive."

When Winfrey persisted, the seller offered her cheaper bags, telling her "I don't want to hurt your feelings" because the bag was presumably beyond her means.

Winfrey, whose personal fortune is estimated at nearly 3 billion dollars, said she left the store without protest. She repeated the assertion in another interview with veteran talk show host Larry King.

Switzerland's tourism board apologized for the incident, writing on Twitter "We are fuming - this person acted terribly wrong. We are sorry this happened to Oprah."

Trois Pommes owner Trudie Goetz, who was also a guest at Turner's wedding, apologized for her saleswoman's behaviour, calling it a "misunderstanding," Blick said.

The Oprah Winfrey Show, which ended in 2011, has been televised around the world, but not in Switzerland, its website said.

Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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