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Oprah Winfrey plays down racism row

WENN, Tuesday, August 13, 2013, 8:02am (PDT)
  • Oprah Winfrey says she regrets revealing the location of her recent racism row as she never meant to tarnish Switzerland's name.

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    The star claimed she was the victim of racism during a recent trip to Zurich for the wedding of her friend Tina Turner when an assistant at a luxury boutique allegedly refused to show her one of the purses on display because it was "too expensive."

    The shop clerk has since claimed the incident was a misunderstanding due to troubles with her English, and Winfrey was given an apology from the Swiss Tourist Board, but the TV mogul now says she wishes she hadn't recounted the experience.

    She tells the BBC, "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. It's not an indictment against the country, or even that store. It's just one person who didn't want to offer me the opportunity to see the bag. 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. Nobody's going to call me the N-word to my face unless they're a thug on Twitter or Facebook. It doesn't show up that way. It shows up for me differently. I'm in a store ... and they make an assessment based upon the way I look and who I am."

    After Winfrey disclosed her side of what happened, it has since been revealed that the shop is Trois Pomme, located in Zurich. And for her part, the shop girl claims Winfrey isn't telling the truth.

    "This is not true. This is absurd. I would never say something like that to a customer. Really never," the woman, identified as Adriana N, told Swiss newspaper SonntagsBlick. "I don't know why she is making these accusations. She is so powerful and I am just a shop girl. I didn't hurt anyone. I don't know why someone as great as her must cannibalize me on TV. If it had all taken place as she claimed, why has she not complained the next day at the wedding of Tina Turner with Trudie Goetz, my boss? She was there also at the Turner wedding as a guest. I don't understand it. I spoke to Oprah Winfrey in English. My English is OK but not excellent, unfortunately."

  • RELATED: Oprah talks about using the N-word

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