Should Oprah Have Apologized For Airing Out Zurich-Handbag Debacle?

StyleBlazer Survey: Should Oprah Have Apologized For Rac*st-Shaming Switzerland?


By now, we’re sure most of you are aware of Oprah Winfrey‘s Pretty Woman-esque ‘you can’t afford to shop here’ (aka ‘we don’t want ya kind here, go-on, git!’) experience that she had in Zurich, Switzerland while trying to buy a $38K handbag.

Long story short, the (Italian) sales associate refused to show Oprah the bag because Oprah is black and therefore obviously couldn’t afford it, saying, “No, it’s too expensive.” Oprah replied, “But I really do just want to see that one,” to which the shopkeeper said, “Oh, I don’t want to hurt your feelings.” Oprah finished the exchange with a cool “Okay, thank you so much. You’re probably right, I can’t afford it,” and walked out of the store.

Then, during a visit to “Entertainment Tonight”, O recounted the story and the media frenzy-slash-public scrutiny of Switzerland ensued very shortly after. The incident has become modern day evidence of the persistence of racism in one of the most cliché forms, forcing the store’s owner and Switzerland’s national tourism board to issue public apologies to the media mogul. And while it could have stood as a lesson learned for all audiences, the fire lit under the seat of retailers and other service industry businesses to take a real look at their perceptions of and practices toward black consumers may now be quenched by Oprah’s own public apology for the wide upset.

According to, at last night’s premiere of The Butler, O said, “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.” So she’s sorry for calling the country under fire, but was too nice to name and embarrass the boutique individually. Who should shoulder the blame then, Oprah?


StyleBlazers, was Oprah right for apologizing to the country of Switzerland or should she have held strong to her initial comments?

  • Xoelchuloxo

    But the Oprah never mentioned the clerks name just the store

  • fawkem

    No she shouldn’t,,it is what it is……

  • MeMe

    She really shouldn’t feel bad Switzerland just passed an apartheid style law against asylum seekers. They ate racist as hell!t

  • Southanswagg

    Im trying to figure out what it is Oprah should apologize for….from what I know Oprah handled the entire situation with maturity and class, there are some including my self that may not have handled that situation as well as she did

  • Lex PrimeOne

    No she shouldn’t apologize. That’s the problem with these new age Blacks they don’t know how to take a stand.
    You are insanely rich and self employed,if you can’t make a point without fear of retaliation who can?

  • IngStew

    NO WAY!!!!! Clearly they did her WRONG. OPRAH is OWED a BIG APOLOGY!!!!

  • Issa

    Oprah told her side of the story in the form of a joke the media then takes the same story and turns it into race relations, which in turn gives seed for the real racist, (pssst Yahoo answers) to turn around and call her an “uppity N####”. If anything the media should apologize for exaggerating the situation.

  • Melody Carroll

    no oprah should not apologize oprah needs to stand her ground on this to

  • Patricia

    Racism in any form should be exposed. I have no idea why oprah is aplogizing, she’s the victim here. I would have gotten the little racist’s name and exposed that too.

  • Tbaby

    No, i think she did the world a huge favor, so many people black and white alike think that you can buy your class here in america. Oh if i had this money, car, or education i will be accepted. And Oprah exposed for the world and those who think that, that that’s not necessarily true because as rich, influential and powerful she is, to SOME shes still just a black woman.

  • blue journal

    Oprah looks like a bull with a wig without her makeup. You probably wouldn’t recognize her either. Appears to be a publicity stunt by Big O.