The Zurich boutique clerk accused of racially profiling Oprah Winfrey is firing back -- claiming the Queen of Talk’s account “is not true” and “absurd.”
“I would never say something like that to a customer. Really never,” the unidentified Italian woman told Switzerland’s SonntagsBlick newspaper Sunday, according to a translation from London’s Daily Mail.
“I don't know why she is making these accusations. She is so powerful
and I am just a shop girl,” added the shop attendant, who has worked at
the posh Trois Pommes shop for five years.
“I don't know why someone as great as her must cannibalize me on TV.”
Winfrey says she wanted to
take a closer look at a handbag selling for $38,000, but the seller at
Zurich’s Trois Pommes refused to take it off the shelf, telling Winfrey
'No, it's too expensive.'
Store owner Trudie Goetz
shows off her collection of handbags for sale at Tom Ford at Trois
Pommes, where the incident took place.
"We are very sorry for what happened to (Oprah) of course, because we
think all of our guests and clients should be treated respectfully, in a
professional way," a spokeswoman for the Swiss tourism office told The
But the shop attendant has a much different version of events than the one relayed by Winfrey.
“I simply told her that it was like the one I held in my hand, only
much more expensive, and that I could show her similar bags,” she told
The bag at the center of the
Swiss international incident is a $38,000 Tom Ford ‘Jennifer’ handbag -
named after Jennifer Aniston.
“It is absolutely not true that I declined to show her the bag on
racist grounds. I even asked her if she wanted to look at the bag.
“'She looked around the store again but didn't say anything else. Then
she went with her companion to the lower floor. My colleague saw them to
the door. They were not even in the store for five minutes.”
Store owner Trudie Goetz publicly defended her employee, telling
Reuters, “"This is an absolute classic misunderstanding” possibly caused
by the clerk’s imperfect command of English.
When asked by the Swiss newspaper what should would say to Winfrey if
she had the chance to talk to her again, the clerk responded:
“I would apologize and say it was all a misunderstanding,” she said. “ I
surely did not intentionally want to insult Ms. Winfrey.
“I hope this nightmare ends soon.”