Swiss Sales Assistant Accused by Oprah of Being Racist Fights Back: ‘This Is Not True, This Is Absurd’

The sales assistant who Oprah Winfrey claims refused to show her a $38,000 handbag is fighting back against the influential billionaire’s allegations of racism. Speaking to Sunday newspaper SonntagsBlick, the woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, said Oprah lied about the circumstances surrounding their interaction inside the luxury Swiss boutique where she works.

Winfrey was in Switzerland to attend Tina Turner’s wedding when she entered Zurich’s Trois Pommes boutique in search of a handbag to match her outfit for the lavish event. She would later tell the tale of her alleged encounter with racism.

The media mogul claims the sales assistant refused to show her a black crocodile leather bag because of the color of her skin, assuming that she clearly could not afford the expensive product because she was black.

However, the sales assistant is telling a drastically different story.

“I wasn’t sure what I should present to her when she came in on the afternoon of Saturday, July 20, so I showed her some bags from the Jennifer Aniston collection,” she reportedly said. “I explained to her the bags came in different sizes and materials, like I always do.”

She then explained that Oprah eyed the $38,000 Swiss franc crocodile leather bag, which was far above on a rack and similar to the one she had in her hand, only much more expensive.

“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,” the sales assistant added.

She also strongly denied ever telling Oprah that the bag was too expensive or that she couldn’t afford it as the TV personality has suggested.

“This is not true, this is absurd. I would never say something like that to a customer. Really never. Good manners and politeness are the Alpha and the Omega in this business,” the sales assistant continued. “I don’t know why she is making these accusations. She is so powerful and I am just a shop girl.”

NEW YORK, NY – JULY 31: Oprah Winfrey attends the O, The Oprah Magazine’s special advance screening of ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’ at The Hearst Tower on July 31, 2013 in New York City. Credit: Getty Images North America

She also said she had no idea who Oprah was when she walked into the store, but added that it “wouldn’t have made any difference if I had.”

Oprah looked around the store for a short time afterwards and then an employee showed them to the door, according to the woman. “They were not even in the store for five minutes.”

If she had a chance to talk to Oprah again, the sales assistant said she would “apologize and say it was all a misunderstanding.”

“I surely did not intentionally want to insult Ms. Winfrey. I hope this nightmare ends soon,” she explained.


(H/T: Daily Mail)

Featured image via Getty. This story has been updated.