Oprah sorry for Switzerland racial flap

Oprah sorry for Switzerland racial flap

Posted: Updated:
(WJBK) -

The Zurich boutique clerk accused of racially profiling Oprah Winfrey is firing back - claiming the media mogul's account "is not true."

"I would never say something like that to a customer. Really never," the unidentified Italian woman told a Swiss newspaper.

Though Winfrey didn't reveal the name of the establishment, the interview caused a national uproar in Switzerland when a local paper revealed the shop. The European nation's official tourism office condemned the attendant's conduct as "terribly wrong."

The international incident was sparked by Winfrey's trip to Switzerland last month for her friend Tina Turner's wedding, but not revealed by the billionaire media mogul until an interview with 'Entertainment Tonight' last week.

Winfrey said she asked a clerk to see a $38,000 Tom Ford bag behind a glass case, but the clerk said, ‘No, it's too expensive.'

The shop attendant has a much different version of events than the one relayed by Winfrey.

"I simply told her that it was like the one I held in my hand, only much more expensive, and that I could show her similar bags. 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."

"She looked around the store again but didn't say anything else. Then she went with her companion to the lower floor. My colleague saw them to the door. They were not even in the store for five minutes."

"Store owner Trudie Goetz publicly defended her employee, telling Reuters, "This is an absolute classic misunderstanding possibly caused by the clerk's imperfect command of English."

When asked by the Swiss newspaper what she would say to Winfrey if she had the chance to talk to her again, the clerk responded: "I would apologize and say it was all a misunderstanding. I surely did not intentionally want to insult Ms. Winfrey," she said. "I hope this nightmare ends soon."

Winfrey seems to agree on that point. Offering up her own apology at the premiere for her upcoming film 'TheButler' in Los Angeles. "I think that incident in Switzerland was just an incident in Switzerland. 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 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."

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Clutch Cargo's returns to religious roots

    Clutch Cargo's returns to religious roots

    Monday, April 21 2014 7:54 AM EDT2014-04-21 11:54:45 GMT
    Clutch Cargo's, a southeastern Michigan church building that spent several years as a nightclub, reopened as a house of worship on Easter Sunday.
    Clutch Cargo's, a southeastern Michigan church building that spent several years as a nightclub, reopened as a house of worship on Easter Sunday.
  • Kraft Foods recalls 96,000 pounds of Oscar Mayer Classic Wieners

    Kraft Foods recalls 96,000 pounds of Oscar Mayer Classic Wieners

    Monday, April 21 2014 7:51 AM EDT2014-04-21 11:51:36 GMT
    Kraft Foods is recalling approximately 96,000 pounds of Oscar Mayer Classic Wieners because the products may contain Classic Cheese Dogs in the Classic Wieners' packages.
    Kraft Foods is recalling approximately 96,000 pounds of Oscar Mayer Classic Wieners because the products may contain Classic Cheese Dogs in the Classic Wieners' packages.
  • Van Dyke improvement project underway in Warren, Centerline

    Van Dyke improvement project underway in Warren, Centerline

    Monday, April 21 2014 7:42 AM EDT2014-04-21 11:42:43 GMT
    A massive construction project is underway in Macomb County. If you travel on Van Dyke, you know how rough it is. Now, jackhammers are out there tearing up a two-and-a half mile stretch from 11 Mile to Chicago Rd.
    A massive construction project is underway in Macomb County. If you travel on Van Dyke, you know how rough it is. Now, jackhammers are out there tearing up a two-and-a half mile stretch from 11 Mile to Chicago Rd.
  • Download the FOX 2 Apps


  • FOX 2 News Five-Day Forecast
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices