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Oprah Winfrey received an apology last week from Swiss tourism officials following an alleged racist encounter at a Zurich shop. Now, the talk-show host is offering up her own thoughts about how the incident eventually played out in the public spotlight.
Speaking to reporters Monday at the Los Angeles premiere of her new film The Butler, the media mogul apologized for specifically naming Switzerland when she spoke out about incident.
"I think that incident in Switzerland was just an incident in Switzerland," the 59-year-old said, per the BBC. "I'm really sorry that it got blown up. I purposefully did not mention the name of the store. I'm sorry that I said it was Switzerland."
Winfrey claimed in an interview last week that while shopping at a store in Zurich, a sales associate refused to show her a handbag because it was supposedly "too expensive" for the media mogul.
At The Butler premiere, Winfrey stressed that the incident appeared to be an isolated one.
"It's not an indictment against the country, or even that store. It's just one person who didn't want to offer me the opportunity to see the bag," she said.
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Winfrey also explained the context surrounding why she spoke out about the incident.
"I was just referencing it as an example of being in a place where people don't expect that you would be able to be there," she said. "Nobody's gonna call me the N-word to my face unless they're a thug on Twitter or Facebook. It doesn't show up that way. It shows up for me differently: I'm in a store…and they make an assessment based upon the way I look and who I am."
Winfrey, who was in Zurich to attend Tina Turner's wedding, subsequently received an apology from Swiss officials.
"Switzerland Tourism is deeply sorry to learn about the experience Ms. Winfrey recently had in Switzerland, and we apologize that her feelings were hurt," the agency said. "We would like to assure Ms. Winfrey—like any visitor to Switzerland—that she is welcome with open arms."
Winfrey eventually took to Twitter to defuse the situation and sum up her trip to Switzerland.
"Turns out the store clerk did me a favor. Just found out that bag was #38K!!! She was right I was NOT going to buy it," Winfrey wrote.
"Other than the handbag diss. I had a GREAT time in Zurich," she added. "Best spa ever @doldergran. Would love to experience again."