A sales assistant in a luxury boutique in Zurich, Switzerland, is fighting back after being singled out by Oprah Winfrey for an alleged racist incident. The store clerk told her side of the story to a Swiss publication, saying Winfrey lied about the incident, the U.K.’s Daily Mail reports.
"Speaking anonymously to Sunday newspaper SonntagsBlick, the Italian bag lady said she felt ‘powerless’ and in the grip of a ‘cyclone’ after Winfrey went on TV in America to claim she had been the victim of racism," The Daily Mail reports. "Winfrey was in Switzerland in July when she walked into the Trois Pommes boutique in Zurich looking for a handbag to match the outfit she was going to wear to old friend Tina Turner’s wedding.
"She claims the sales assistant refused to show her the black crocodile leather bag because — seeing a black woman — she automatically assumed she would not be able to afford it."
The clerk gave this version of events: "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.
"I explained to her the bags came in different sizes and materials, like I always do.
"She looked at a frame behind me. Far above there was the 35,000 Swiss franc crocodile leather bag.
"I simply told her that it was like the one I held in my hand, only much more expensive, and that I could show her similar bags."
The sales clerk said the incident had nothing to do with racism.
"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," she reportedly said. "She looked around the store again but didn’t say anything else. Then she went with her companion to the lower floor. My colleague saw them to the door. They were not even in the store for five minutes."