Oprah is one of the richest and most powerful women in the world, but that doesn’t stop her from being profiled in 2013.
Back in 2005, while visiting Paris, she experienced profiling when she arrived at the Hermès store, hoping to get a nice bag and instead was refused entry into the store.
This time around, she was in Switzerland celebrating Tina Turner’s recent wedding when she decided to visit Trois Pommes, a top boutique. She told Entertainment Tonight that racism is alive and well because while there she saw a $38,000 crocodile skin “Jennifer” bag by Tom Ford (designed for actress Jennifer Aniston) that she wanted a sales assistant to show her, but the associate refused to get it from it’s locked cabinet and told her she couldn’t afford it.
“I was in Zurich the other day, in a store whose name I will not mention. I didn’t have my eyelashes on, but I was in full Oprah Winfrey gear. I had my little Donna Karan skirt and my little sandals. But obviously ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ is not shown in Zurich.
“I go into a store and I say to the woman, ‘Excuse me, could I see the bag right above your head?’ and she says to me, ‘No. It’s too expensive.’[...]I left the store but it proves that racism is still an issue. There’s two different ways to handle it. I could’ve had the whole blow-up thing… but racism still exists, of course it does.’
Putting a spin on things, the boutique’s owner Trudie Götz spoke out on the incident, while claiming it didn’t have anything to do with race and it was just “a misunderstanding between her and Oprah.” She also said that she won’t be firing her associate because it all boils down to the fact that her employee doesn’t speak English well.
I thought her English was not quite as good as that of Oprah. She only meant well. She said it just fine, did everything right. I can not blame the staff. I see no reason to dismiss [her].
According to Oprah, no matter what her financial or fame status is, she’s still battling racism and sexism in boardrooms across the world.
True racism is being able to have power over somebody else. So that doesn’t happen to me that way. It shows up for me this way, it shows up that sometimes I’m in a boardroom or I’m in certain situations where I’m the only woman, or I’m the only African American person within a 100-mile radius, and I can see in the energy of the people there, they don’t sense that I should be holding one of those seats. I can sense that. I can never tell is it racism or is it sexism, because often it’s both. The sexism thing is huge. The higher the ladder you climb, it gets huge.
According to Forbes, for the last year ending in June, Oprah made $77 million.
Forget the bag — she could have bought every boutique on that block if she wanted to.