Oprah Claims Racist Experience in Switzerland, Gets Apology

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Oprah Winfrey

UPDATE: The media mogul says a Zurich shop assistant refused to show her a handbag because it was "too expensive" for her, the owner says it was a "misunderstanding."

GENEVA — Talk show host Oprah Winfrey says she encountered racism while shopping in Switzerland -- and the national tourism office agrees.

The media mogul, who is one of the world's richest women, told Entertainment Tonight that a shop assistant in Zurich refused to show her a handbag because it was "too expensive" for her.

Forbes magazine estimates that Winfrey earned $77 million in the year ending in June.

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The owner of the Zurich shop, Trudie Goetz, explained the incident to Reuters: "This is an absolute classic misunderstanding." Goetz also noted that a language miscommunication occurred and added to the newswire, "Who wouldn't want to sell a purse for 35,000 francs?"

A spokeswoman for the Swiss tourism office, Daniela Baer, told The Associated Press on Friday "we are very sorry for what happened to her."

The tourism office also posted an apology on Twitter, saying "this person acted terribly wrong."

Winfrey was in town to attend last month's wedding of longtime pal Tina Turner, who lives in Switzerland.