Take note: Oprah Winfrey doesn't need an apology from the country of Switzerland regarding the instance of racism she claims she encountered during a recent trip. "I think that incident in Switzerland was just an incident in Switzerland," Oprah said at the premiere of her new film, Lee Daniels' The Butler last night. ICYMI—the incident she's referring to is one that took place in Zurich's Trois Pommes shop recently, involving a shop girl that Oprah claims refused to show her a $38,000 bag, before telling her "you will not be able to afford that."
"I'm really sorry that it got blown up," Oprah continued. "I purposefully did not mention the name of the store. I'm sorry that I said it was 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."
After the reports of the incident broke, a spokesperson for the Swiss tourism office released an official apology, stating, "We are very sorry for what happened to her, of course, because we think all of our guests and clients should be treated respectfully, in a professional way." The owner of Trois Pommes also commented to the media, saying that it was a "misunderstanding."
More recently, the store clerk involved in the incident has spoken about as well, but only to deny that anything like that ever happened in Trois Pommes. Speaking to Swiss newspaper SonntagsBlick, the store clerk said, "I don’t know why she is making these accusations. She is so powerful, and I am just a shop girl...this is not true. This is absurd. I would never say something like that to a customer. Really, never. Good manners and politeness are the Alpha and the Omega in this business." The store clerk, who has not been named, also claims that she offered to show Oprah the bag:
"It is absolutely not true that I declined to show her the bag on racist grounds. I even asked her if she wanted to look at the bag [...]
I didn't hurt anyone. I don't know why someone as great as her must cannibalize me on TV. … If it had all taken place as she claimed, why has she not complained the next day at the wedding of Tina Turner with Trudie Goetz, my boss? She was there also at the Turner wedding as a guest. I don't understand it. ... I spoke to Oprah Winfrey in English. My English is OK but not excellent, unfortunately. ... I didn't know who she was when she came into the store. That wouldn't have made any difference if I had."
Meanwhile conspiracy theorists are doing their thing, and theorizing about conspiracies regarding the incident. John Nolte at right-wing site Breitbart.com, for instance, wrote in an article yesterday:
But did the media even wonder for a moment how a potentially exaggerated, racially-charged anecdote of this kind might help to sell Oprah's upcoming film, "The Butler?" It was, after all, during the publicity blitz for "The Butler" that Oprah first told the story.
Did no one in media wonder if such an anecdote mixed with the promotion of a film based on a racial theme might be a little too neat?
Also, let us not forget that Oprah is already guilty of jumping with both feet into the George Zimmerman trial. Though every shred of evidence points to the fact that Zimmerman's fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin had nothing to do with race, that didn't stop Oprah from pretending it did. Of course, the media (and Obama) were also all aboard for that race hoax.
Or, it could have been that she was sharing an experience that was relevant to the film during a press junket interview. You know, the logical explanation. EITHER WAY.
[via The Hollywood Reporter]