Oprah Apologizes For Switzerland Controversy

News & Views | Camille Travis | 08/13/2013 | 01:00 PM EDT

Oprah Winfrey On Switzerland Controversy: 'I'm Really Sorry That It Got Blown Up'

Oprah Winfrey has apologized for the alleged racial incident in Switzerland which involved a rude shop assistant and a “too expensive” handbag.  Her account told to Entertainment Tonight and Larry King caused a media frenzy, despite the clerk calling her claims “absolutely untrue.”


At the Los Angeles premiere of Lee Daniels’ The Butler on Monday (Aug. 12), the media maven told reporters that she regrets blaming the country for the isolated incident.


“I think the incident in Switzerland was just an incident in Switzerland,” she said. “I’m really sorry that it got blown up. I purposefully did not mention the name of the store. I am sorry that I said it was Switzerland.”


She continued, “It’s not an indictment against the country, or even that store. It’s just one person who didn’t want to offer me the opportunity to see the bag.”


According to Winfrey, the clerk refused to show her a $38,000 handbag that was “too expensive” and instead offered up a cheaper line of handbags. OWN’s head honcho—who pocketed a cool $77 million last year—assumed that the offense was because she was Black.


Yet Adriana N., the identified clerk, has since blasted Winfrey’s claims.


“That’s not true. That is absurd,” she told the Swiss newspaper SonntagsBlick. “I would never say anything like that to a customer.”


Despite the back and forth, the owner of the Zurich boutique issued an apology last week and blamed the incident on a miscommunication.

(Photo: Mike Windle/Getty Images for TWC)

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