Oprah Says Handbag Incident Was Racism

Oprah Says Handbag Incident Was Racism

A defiant Oprah Winfrey insists she was the victim of racism, despite a strong denial from the clerk at a swanky Swiss boutique.  

Oprah told a reporter, "Nobody's going to come and call me the N-word to my face unless they're a thug on Twitter. It shows up for me differently. I'm in a store and the person obviously doesn't know that I carry the black [American Express] card, and so they make an assessment based upon the way I look and who I am."

Winfrey spoke out at the Los Angeles premiere of her new movie, The Butler. She first accused the clerk of racism last week on the webcast Larry King Now.

Winfrey told King, "I say to the woman, 'I would like to see that bag on the shelf' and she said, 'No. That one's too expensive.'"

King asked, "How does that make you feel?"

"I wanted to laugh at her. I wanted to create a Pretty Woman moment, and come back and buy everything and say 'Big mistake!' But then I thought she'd get a commission," replied Winfrey.

But the clerk says, Winfrey is dead wrong about what happened when the TV mogul asked to see a $38,000 Tom Ford handbag.

"I simply told her that [the handbag] 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. She is so powerful and I am just a shopgirl." [Source: SonntagsBlick Newspaper]

Winfrey said, "I'm really sorry that it got blown up. I purposely did not mention the name of the store. I'm sorry that I said it was Switzerland."

Winfrey says she's sorry that an international firestorm developed over the incident. But clearly, she's sticking to her story.

"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 a Louboutin shoe. I didn't have anything. I just had on a Donna Karan skirt and top and some sandals. Which you should be able to go into a store looking like whatever you look like and say 'I'd like to see this.' That didn't happen," said Winfrey.