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article imageOprah 'sorry' over media storm; stands by racism claim over purse

By Yukio Strachan     Aug 14, 2013 in Entertainment
Los Angeles - Billionaire media mogul Oprah Winfrey says she's "sorry" a media frenzy emerged after saying she experienced racism at a luxury store in Switzerland when an clerk refused to show her a handbag, saying it was "too expensive."
At the premiere of her new film, "Lee Daniels: The Butler," in Los Angles on Monday evening, the actress and talk show host, recently named by Forbes as the world's most powerful celebrity, said she regretted saying it took place in Switzerland, Reuters reported.
"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," she told reporters on the red carpet.
"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," she added.
Winfrey, 59, told Entertainment Tonight last week that that she experienced racism while she was in Switzerland for the wedding of singer Tina Turner last month. Winfrey recalled a clerk at an upscale Zurich boutique refusing to show her a $38,000 luxury handbag by designer Tom Ford, saying it was "too expensive" and instead suggested cheaper bags.
"I'm in a store and the person doesn't obviously know that I carry the black card and so they make an assessment based upon the way I look and who I am," said Winfrey, who earned $77 million in the year ending in June, according to Forbes magazine.
"I didn't have anything that said, 'I have money.' I wasn't wearing a diamond stud. I didn't have a pocketbook. I didn't wear Louboutin shoes. I didn't have anything," said Winfrey on the red carpet, according to the Associated Press. "You should be able to go in a store looking like whatever you look like and say, 'I'd like to see this.' That didn't happen."
While Swiss tourism officials said it regretted the incident, UPI writes, the owner of Trois Pommes denied racism, calling the incident a "misunderstanding."
But Winfrey stood by the claim.
In "The Butler," which opens in theaters on Friday, Winfrey plays the wife of an African-American butler who served in the White House for seven U.S. presidents. Through his story, the civil rights movement's story is told.
More about Oprah Winfrey, Racism, the butler, Apology
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