Oprah and Owner of Trois Pomme in Racism Debate

Oprah and Owner of Trois Pomme in Racism Debate

Oprah has been the center of much controversy about a run-in she had with an employee in what was revealed to be Trois Pomme, a retail shop in Zurich. While visiting Switzerland for the wedding of mega-star singer, Tina Turner, she decided to indulge in some private shopping, where she encountered a store clerk who refused to show her a Swiss franc crocodile handbag deemed “too expensive for her,” Oprah shared with Entertainment Tonight. She even asked to see the bag two other times, but was still refused, being offered cheaper handbags to review. Once, the employee even told Oprah, “I don’t want to hurt your feelings.” Oprah openly acknowledged that racism still exists; however, the shop calls the encounter a “200 percent misunderstanding.”

According to Entertainment Tonight, Oprah still received a sincere apology from Switzerland tourism officials. “Switzerland Tourism is deeply sorry to learn about the experience Ms. Winfrey recently had in Switzerland, and we apologize that her feelings were hurt. We would like to assure Ms. Winfrey—like any visitor to Switzerland—that she is welcome with open arms,” they apologized. Oprah did not let the incident ruin her trip or her impression of Zurich. She tweeted, “Turns out the store clerk did me a favor. Just found out that bag was #38K!!! She was right I was NOT going to buy it.” Oprah was still satisfied with her trip, tweeting, “Other than the handbag diss. I had a GREAT time in Zurich. Best spa ever @doldergran. Would love to experience again.” Oprah handled the situation correctly, and Entertainment Tonight acknowledges this by saying, “Instead of raising a ruckus about how she was treated, she left the shop without buying the bag because she didn’t want to give the employee a commission.”

Rueters reports, the store’s owner, Trudie Goetz, denies any racial discrimination was done, sharing, “This is an absolute classic misunderstanding. The sales assistant wanted to show Winfrey that the purse was also available in other materials, which may have given the TV host the impression the shop didn’t want to sell her the purse. Of course that’s not the case. Who wouldn’t want to sell a purse for 35,000 francs?”

According to Forbes magazine, Oprah reportedly made $77 million the last year alone, which solidifies that she could have bought the purse more than threefold without a small dent in her wallet. Goetz has since apologized in later reports and credits the misunderstanding to the fact that the employee did not recognize who Oprah was. Swiss newspaper, Blick, quotes Goetz who said, “We don’t have any facial recognition here.” Christian Trottmann, corporate communications head of Zurich Tourism, told CBSNews about travelers who may consider (or re-consider) a visit to Zurich, “You’ll find here very friendly people. We are, I would say, quite an open-minded city. We are used to having people from all nations and all cultures.”

By: Kimberly M. Scott

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3 Responses to "Oprah and Owner of Trois Pomme in Racism Debate"

  1. Allan   August 14, 2013 at 12:49 am

    Is it cos I’m black ?

  2. missy   August 12, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    like we really care how much money she got. oh .. not in switzerland.


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