LOS ANGELES – Oprah Winfrey says she’s sorry a media frenzy emerged after saying she experienced racism during a trip to Switzerland.
“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,” Winfrey said, speaking at the premiere of Lee Daniels’ The Butler.
“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 continued.
In a recent interview with Entertainment Tonight, Winfrey recalled a clerk at an upscale Zurich boutique refusing to show her a handbag. Winfrey said she was told she could not afford the $38 000 purse.
“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 $77m 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. “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.”
Swiss tourism officials and the boutique owner apologised for the incident last week, but Winfrey insists there’s no need.
“It’s not an indictment against the country or even that store,” she continued. “It was just one person who didn’t want to offer me the opportunity to see the bag.
So no apologies necessary from the country of Switzerland. If somebody makes a mistake in the United States do we apologise in front of the whole country? No!”
The Butler, which opens in the US on Friday, documents the civil rights movement through the story of a butler who served in the White House for seven presidents.
Meanwhile, Simon Cowell’s pregnant lover has been warned not to leave New York or face losing custody of her son. Lauren Silverman – who is locked in a bitter divorce battle with husband Andrew – has reportedly been contemplating a move to Los Angeles to be with the X Factor star when she gives birth to their baby, but her estranged spouse has insisted he will fight for custody of their seven-year-old son, Adam.
A source told the Daily Star newspaper: “Lauren and Simon have been talking about their plans for when the baby is born. They both agree she should live with, or at least very near him, so he can be as involved as possible. This has obviously angered her husband. He has told his legal counsel she is not getting their son if she moves across the country. He just wants the best for Adam.”- AP.
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