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Switzerland’s tourism office has issued an apology to Oprah after the celebrity revealed she had a racist encounter with a shopkeeper in Zurich.
Oprah recounted the experience on “Entertainment Tonight,” telling host Nancy O’Dell that, in town for Tina Turner’s wedding in July, she was shopping and came upon an attractive handbag priced at around $40,000. When she expressed interest in the bag, the store assistant demurred, saying “No. It’s too expensive.”
The star, currently ranked as the most powerful celebrity in the world by Forbes, persisted: “One more time, I tried. I said, ‘But I really do just want to see that one,’ and the shopkeeper said, ‘Oh, I don’t want to hurt your feelings,’ and I said, ‘Okay, thank you so much. You’re probably right, I can’t afford it.’ And I walked out of the store.”
“I could’ve had the whole blow-up thing and thrown down the black card, but why do that? But that clearly is, you know … it (racism) still exists. Of course it does,” said Oprah, who earned $77 million last year alone, according to Forbes.
Daniela Baer, a spokeswoman for the Swiss tourism office, told The Associated Press on Friday that “We are very sorry for what happened to her, of course, because we think all of our guests and clients should be treated respectfully, in a professional way.”
The store’s owner, Trudie Goetz, has also apologized, but called it a “misunderstanding.” “I have to admit that the employee is Italian. Of course, she speaks English, but not as well as her mother tongue,” she said.
Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at email@example.com.More Prachi Gupta.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.