Trudie Götz (right) is the owner of Trois Pommes, an expensive shop in Zurich, Switzerland. Oprah (left) is the owner of the entire world. But Trudie's employees didn't know that, so they declined to show her a $38,000 crocodile bag (center) because a black person can't afford such accouterments. Poor Oprah.
Oprah was recently shopping in Zurich (while in town for Tina Turner's wedding) when she popped into an upscale boutique wanting to have a look at a Tom Ford handbag. The salesgirl was all, "It's very expensive." And Oprah was all, "Look, I've got money to spend in here." But the salesgirl didn't believe her. Big mistake. Huge.
Oprah wanted to take a look at a $38,000 crocodile bag, but the salesgirl kept telling her that she could't afford it. Ironically, the owner of the boutique in question, Trois Pommes, was also a guest at Tina Turner's wedding. (That must've been an awkward Venetian hour.) She has since apologized, but denies that the incident had anything to do with racism.
In a recent interview with Entertainment Tonight, Oprah discussed how she—a super-famous, super-powerful billionaire media mogul—experiences racism differently than others.
Nobody in their right mind, unless they're a Twitter thug, is going to call me the N-word. Nobody in their right mind is going to do that to my face. Because true racism is being able to have power over somebody else, so it doesn't happen to me that way.
She went on to tell the Zurich shopping story. (Note: this is not the first time that Oprah was denied a high-end shopping experience because of her race. She was infamously turned away from Hermes in 2005.) She also shared some really candid, interesting insights about how, at her level of business power, she experiences discriminatory treatment, but can never tell if it's racism or sexism, adding, "It's often both."
And then she quoted a Maya Angelou poem.