The 59 year old media mogul and currently Forbes' top 100 most powerful celebrity in the world narrated how she was a victim of racism during her visit to Zurich for her long time friend Tina Turner’s wedding last month.
Oprah had gone into a pricy store, Trois Pommes, to purchase a $34k handbag but to her dismay the shop assistant refused to serve her telling her she could not afford it... Read below what she told Entertainment Tonight about the racist incident;
‘I was in Zurich the other day, in a store whose name I will not mention. I didn’t have my eyelashes on, but I was in full Oprah Winfrey gear. I had my little Donna Karan skirt and my little sandals. But obviously ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ is not shown in Zurich. I go into a store and I say to the woman, excuse me, could I see the bag right above your head? and she says to me, No. It’s too expensive.’
The saleswoman went on to suggest she look at cheaper bags. ‘I left the store but it proves that racism is still an issue,’ Oprah added.
There’s two different ways to handle it. I could’ve had the whole blow-up thing… but racism still exists, of course it does. The handbag in question was on sale for £24,460 and was locked in a cabinet to prevent shoplifting.
Winfrey went on to say that racism was still prevalent in many walks of life. She added that as a high-profile and wealthy celebrity, she experienced overt forms of racism quite infrequently but sexism was far more common.
True racism is being able to have power over somebody else. So that doesn’t happen to me that way. It shows up for me this way, it shows up that sometimes I’m in a board room or I’m in certain situations where I’m the only woman, or I’m the only African American person within a 100 mile radius, and I can see in the energy of the people there, they don’t sense that I should be holding one of those seats.
I can sense that. I can never tell is it racism or is it sexism, because often it’s both. The sexism thing is huge. The higher the ladder you climb, it gets huge.
The incident occurred in the chic Trois Pommes store whose owner, Trudie Götz, ironically was also a guest at the Turner nuptials.
She told the Blick newspaper there had been ‘a misunderstanding’ caused by the assistant’s failure to recognize Oprah. She apologized for her assistant’s behavior, saying there had been ‘a misunderstanding between her and Oprah. We don’t have any facial controls here.’
The assistant’s conduct was ‘completely unacceptable’, said Markus Hünig, president of the Zurich Bahnhofstrasse Association, the street where the boutique is situated.