Rod Liddle

The sad story of Oprah, the handbag and the shop assistant

17 August 2013

9:00 AM

17 August 2013

9:00 AM

Listen, this story is moving so quickly stuff will almost certainly have happened in between me writing it and you reading it. I hate the idea that you might be left behind the curve, but I just don’t know how to get around that. An outrage occurs and of course we try faithfully to report it, so that you can be outraged vicariously, but time moves on; the outrage spreads out, like a fast-moving conflagration, and begins to affects us all and we all of us feel unclean and traduced. Already, with the outrage I’m about to describe, the Guardian has decided it was not one outrage but two conjoined outrages, Siamese-twin outrages if you like. By the time you read this we could be in United Nations territory. We could. Nobody, but nobody, subjects the US chatshow host Oprah Winfrey to a hideous act of racism and gets away with it.

What happened was this. Oprah was in Zurich for some reason and decided to do a spot of shopping, for accessories and the like. She went into the expensive Trois Pommes boutique and started browsing the handbags. According to Oprah, she saw a nice handbag behind the shop assistant’s head and asked to look it. ‘No, you don’t want that one,’ the shop girl allegedly replied, ‘you want this one, because that one will cost too much.’ And she showed her a cheaper handbag than the one above her head, the one that cost 22,000 quid. According to Oprah.

Oprah was wounded. She caught the scent of magnolia and heard the ghostly clanking of leg irons from long, long ago. So she left the shop and went straight onto Twitter, and then the Larry King show, and then an interview outside some Hollywood bash, and then some more Twitter, to rail against this act of blatant racism and to castigate the shop girl. Racists these days don’t come right up and call you something horrible to your face, she explained, it doesn’t happen like that any more. Instead, you get the kind of thing I suffered in that Swiss shop. White people like that shop assistant — ‘They make an assessment based upon my appearance.’ The assistant didn’t know Oprah makes 50 million quid a year; she just saw a black lady and thought she couldn’t afford the handbag as a consequence. It’s exactly what the KKK would do if they became involved in selling accessories. Racism.

[Alt-Text]


But maybe worse than racism, according to some woman called Heidi Moore writing in the Guardian. As the world’s press got itself indignant and outraged on behalf of Oprah, the Guardian, to its enormous credit, became doubly outraged and indignant. Quite rightly, Heidi maintained, Oprah had focused on the obvious racism inherent in the behaviour of this sick and twisted shop assistant. But it’s worse than that. ‘The struggle for respect faced by women of colour is shared at times with another group — women of size,’ Heidi explained. Now, before we worry ourselves stupid about the lack of respect shown to women of size, perhaps we should digress a little and worry ourselves even more stupid about women of no size, sizeless women. How on earth do they cope, these ectoplasmic and formless creatures, in this viciously three-dimensional world of ours? Unheard, unrepresented. One assumes that if there are women of colour then there must be women of no colour, too. And probably women of no colour who are also, at the same time, women of no size. Utterly, totally, invisible women, not even ethereal wisps. Why has nobody raised their plight before now?

Heidi was referring to the fact that Oprah is not merely black, but also a bit of a moose, a porker, a gannet. According to Heidi, shop assistants sometimes discriminate against porkers, too. They won’t show porkers the really good stuff because they think they’re too fat to wear them, or carry them, or whatever. The porkers leave the shops feeling hurt and slighted, all the more so if they happen to be black, like Oprah, and may feel that they have been doubly discriminated against.

Oprah Winfrey has since said, with great grace, that she regrets that this incident has been turned into such a furious media storm. In other words, she regrets complaining about it on Twitter and to Larry King and to the rest of the world’s media when its representatives made their inevitable inquiries. She is sticking to her story, though: she was the subject of racial discrimination. And it is something which should worry you if you are a) a woman of colour and b) exist in three dimensions the next time you try to buy a £22,000 handbag.

And what of the racist shop assistant? She says it didn’t happen like that at all. She says Oprah inquired about the expensive bag and she showed her the cheaper ones which looked the same, just to be kind. She also claims that she offered to get the expensive bag down for Oprah but that the star did not want to see it. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, the racist shop assistant pleaded, it must have been a misunderstanding, I would never wish to offend Oprah Winfrey in any way. And why, she asked, would a woman so rich and powerful and famous as Oprah persecute a simple shop assistant through the world’s media? Ah, shut up, racist — we know who the real victim is here.

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Show comments
  • StephanieJCW

    You bet your bottom dollar any story with race in it, Liddle is all over it like a rash (especially if it features a black person Liddle’s real obsession).

    She was being interviewed she answered a question.

    She made a comment on Twitter about something that pissed her off.

    Neither of those things are odd. Whatever the motivation (and I think Oprah is probably right on this one) there is nothing worse than jumped up shop assistants. People who think that because they WORK in a shop selling expensive stuff then they are better than the people going into buy things.

    Anyway good on on mocking Oprah making a big deal of it, while ensuring the story doesn’t die by writing an article about it…

    • Baron

      You obviously know FA about shopping assistants working on commission, Stephanie. Why should they worry about who buys the overpriced stuff, the more expensive the better, it’s money in their pocket.

    • rodliddle

      She wasn’t being interviewed you predictable drongo: she TWEETED. Then, when that was picked up, she got interviewed. You are as ever purblind.

      • http://twitter.com/#!/holdendcat BradyMoss

        Oh, look! Mr. Rod “I used the words ‘black savages’ and a phony ‘non-apology apology’ is all you’ll get from me” Liddle has lowered himself to scrap with us commoners!

        Blow it out your ass, you BNP plant.

        • rodliddle

          Plant like in aspidistra? New here, aren’t you?

        • jpt4w

          BradyMoss – a UAF plant?

        • GentlemanPugilist

          It’s always the same with ‘liberals’, you lose the argument and revert to ad hominem.

          As has been made clear, there were several other plausible reasons why the shop assistant may have suggested the cheaper handbag. Indeed it was an act that could have been motivated by benevolence, rather than a result of racial stereotyping. But of course thanks to the obsession with racial egalitarianism, I imagine her character will be exhaustively scrutinised for other signs of ‘racism’ and will be permanently tarnished regardless of whether any is found. It’s nasty and Orwellian, and the fact that Oprah felt necessary to begin the witch hunt speaks volumes about her.

          • http://twitter.com/#!/holdendcat BradyMoss

            Here are some things that should be made clear to YOU:

            -Ms. Winfrey has since changed her mind about the shopworker.

            -The idea of a shopworker who is working on commission NOT wanting to sell something very expensive seems weird to me, an American whose one big splurge of recent years was a pair of $250 headphones at an electronics store whose employees work on commission.

            -The author of this column is a low-rent Chris Hitchens wannabe who has come under fire for posting racially-inflammatory comments to a soccer website.. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1243845/Former-Today-editor-Rod-Liddle-racist-posts-football-supporters-website.html)

            Here’s one gem: “‘There’s thousands of organisations catering exclusively to black and asian minorities. **** ’em, close them down. Why do blacks need a forum of their own? As a power base and cash cow for ****s and in order to perpetuate the myth of widespread discrimination.’ ”

            As the article says, this, for crissake, was in response to the question of whether or not the BNP should admit non-whites!

            Looks like my “BNP plant” line hit more than a bit close to home.

    • Pootles

      Stephanie, you seem to make a habit of deliberately mis-reading and misunderstanding, a habit that makes your comments look rather obtuse. Bit silly, really.

    • Fergus Pickering

      I will mock anyone, indeed I would if I could pour sh*t on her from a great height, who wants to have a £22,000 handbag. And I love the idea of a jumped-up shop assistant. What about a jump-up media person? What a terrble snob you are..

  • David Lindsay

    Was I alone in laughing at the words “Oprah Winfrey” and “overpriced bag”?

    • alanbstardmp

      lol

  • Cymrugel

    I agree that Oprah has made a huge fuss over something and nothing, and has indeed backtracked, probably feeling guilty – being essentially quite a nice woman – that she, a multi millionaire media celeb, has publicly crucified a shop assistant who most likely didn’t speak perfect English. (So you are behind the curve Ron).
    But the reality is that people of colour DO get treated differently in a myriad of petty spiteful little ways, as my wife of 26 years can attest. Nothing definable, but in a way that can really niggle as it goes on and on and on.
    It’s not all smoke and mirrors, though no doubt that idea has traction in the like of the Spectator.

    • rodliddle

      “Ron” niggles too, Welshboy.

    • george

      It cuts both ways. Some non-white people have spent a lifetime not only growing the chip on their shoulder but sculpting it into expressive shapes, such that they expect any whites at any first introduction to demonstrate how they are not racist (i.e. genuflecting, or something, instead of just behaving like a normal sociable adult). That’s about as unfair, insulting, and prejudicial as one can get.

  • jpt4w

    This is what probably happened: a woman walks into a shop and inquires about an overpriced expensive handbag, shop assistant says (as they do) ‘don’t buy that one mate, buy this one – it’s exactly the same and only half the price’.
    RACIST!!!

    • george

      So right. I had someone at a checkout (Boots, probably) tell me years ago that did I really mean to buy those fancy overpriced bandages, these other ones were much better value for money; and, not wishing to look like the Imelda Marcos of plasters, I deferred to her judgement and said, ‘Quite right: what was I thinking?!’. For god’s sake, you’d think a privileged woman like Oprah might have some sense of proportion and motive. Apparently not.

      • alanbstardmp

        no she used it as an excuse to get publicity, not caring another person’s reputation may be tarnished

        Must be advantageous to be a member of a minority

  • David Thomson

    Oprah should be slammed hard for employing the race card. It is both immoral and disgusting. Many people implicitly believe that a black person has the right to yell racism at any given moment. White people are to shut up and endure the abuse. Nonsense. We must fight back.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Poor old Oprah. She’d like to be white. It would go so much more naturally with being rich. But alas she can’t be. Into each life, dear Oprah, some rain must fall.

      • Knives_and_Faux

        She still has the plastic covering on the good sofa, some habits are hard to shake even for a multi-millionaire.

        • Fergus Pickering

          But think of the dreadful people she has to meet. Think what they would do to the sofa coverings.

      • Scott Sandrock

        Nope.

  • Baron

    Impossible to say who’s right, who’s wrong, only the two women know the truth, are unlikely to tell, but imagine it were Laura Bush, who asked to be shown a £22,000 bag, the shopping assistant were black, and allegedly refused to jump as asked. The outcry then? How could that Bush woman even think about such an indulgent item, an African village could live on that sort of money for years, thousands starving kids in poor countries could be fed, hundreds of crocodiles saved for the next generations to admire …..

    • John Standley
      • Baron

        Thanks, John, now here is a woman to be admired for just saying it rather than wanting to look at it, buy it, show off.

    • george

      Who’s right, who’s wrong… Implicitly, Oprah is in the wrong because she is the powerbroker heavyweight with the clout to ruin a young person’s life over nothing. And whatever was actually said, it all amounts to nothing, which a gracious or sensible person would have forgotten as ‘one of those things’. I was recently accused slantwise by someone of racism because I refused to take his bullying and called him on it. He thought his ethnicity was a shield for bad behaviour. It shouldn’t be. Some people now think (often rightly) that they have the upper hand, even when they lie or are in the wrong.

    • Brian

      Laura Bush wouldn’t come in looking like a slob, farting, and demanding like some privileged bitch, then go on a Twitter jihad to cry racism.

      Oprah’s a stupid, fat, ugly, fart smelling bitch; you can’t buy class and can’t fix stupid OR Fugly!

      • george

        Um, this looks like a fake comment put up in the hope of making conservatives look bad by consciously and viciously misrepresenting them. Laura Bush is a lady, and those that admire her tend to be ladies — and gentlemen, too.

        Where is the moderator?

        • jack2211

          If only that were true, George. But the Internet is full of this stuff when the topic is Oprah, or Obama or Trayvon Martin. I wish it were a prank too.

          • george

            Get lost, creep, and take your joker friend “Brian” with you.

        • Brian

          Fuck you, George…your comment sounds like some fake comment from an asshole with no sense of humor.

          To properly explain…Oprah has plenty of money, but SHE can’t buy class, or good looks, or intelligence.

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            And my innocuous comments are deleted.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      What we have here is a failure to communicate.

      • Karla’s Man

        Then she should not had tried to shop in Switzerland, should she? When was Switzerland ever a true English-speaking Country?

  • Jo L Walton

    Yeah … let’s spend all our days finding funny examples of fake racism … cool …

  • Iamexpert

    Oprah is a very black looking black woman and it’s rare for such people to have money, so it’s logical that a shop lady working on commission would underestimate her wealth and not want to waste time showing her items she assumed she can’t afford, especially in a blond blue eyed country. Oprah was asked if she experiences racism and the answer is yes, in this case. Though Oprah handled it graciously by not identifying the shop lady or even the store, though the store outed themselves to promote their handbag, and the shop lady is probably making a killing from commission from all the people curious about the handbag since she was never fired and kept her anonymity.

    • george

      Actually she’s a very lots-of-white-folks-in-her-background-looking ‘black’. Most ‘blacks’ in America are like that: not so much black as dark brunette. We are a highly mix-and-match sort of country. That’s why no one bats an eyelid at calling Barry ‘black’, even though his mother was white (O’bama, eh?). It’s not because they can’t see the mixing but because such mixing is utterly ordinary.

      • John Standley

        I wish to coin the term; “Opramah”. Not sure where I’ll use it though.

        • george

          Oh good lord…!

        • salieri

          Maybe it’s just a ‘Comic Oprettah’

        • David

          Maybe that’s what the democrats election campaigns could be called from now on

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      Check that Bicester Village shopping mall: People from all over the world spending on brand goods like there`s no tomorrow. And the shop assistants can`t even manage a greeting in any language other than English.

      • Karla’s Man

        And why should they? Silly! English is an international language.

    • jack2211

      “Oprah is a very black looking black woman and it’s rare for such people to have money.”

      That’s simply not true, especially in those sorts of shops.

      • Karla’s Man

        There is black, and there is Black. Well, she is an American, and not exactly an accented and turbaned wife of a Sub-Saharan dictator, complete with a diplomatic passport, is she? (I think that Mr. Obama probably has some serious explaining to do if she actually had one!)

  • Noa

    Like the shop assistant I would not recognise Oprah Winfrey. However an overweening sense of self importance can be identified by anyone, rich or poor, if they choose judge this trivial matter on its facts and not on the hyperbole and prejudices which now surround it.

  • george

    Apart from anything else (how dare you present O as a possibly portulent if not entirely unpicturesque pinko-friendly pursophiliac presumptuous presenter?), how can a handbag possibly cost 22,000 pounds? What is it woven of, Obama’s pubic hairs?

  • george

    But seriously. This really is a most heartbreaking story.

  • Marcus

    Here are some reasons why the shop assistant may have suggested an alternative bag:

    a) These people are often a bit snooty.
    b) The shop assistant may not have thought it suited her naff taste.
    c) The shop assistant may have thought it was overpriced / couldn’t be arsed to reach for it.
    d) The shop assistant knows who Oprah is and does not like her as she thinks she is a sanctimonious sentimental bore who represents all that’s wrong with the over emotional and shallow USA. Colour of her skin being irrelevant.

    e) She does not like people who are black so always suggests that they buy a cheaper bag as she presumes that they are poor (because she dislikes them so much) and so wants to cater to their presumed economic needs because she dislikes them so much but still doesn’t want them not to go into debt.

    Could it not be that Oprah is chippy and fat with an over inflated opinion of herself and felt out of place in both her gaudy clothing and overweightness in a city of sophistication and so jumped to the wrong conclusions?

    Yes

    • Karla’s Man

      You are making far too much out of it. Why should some-one from Switzerland know who Oprah Winfrey is?

  • ArchiePonsonby

    Horror! Shock!! Shop assistant refuses to treat trash TV programme host as royalty!

  • Fergus Pickering

    David Lindsay has, down below, made a joke. And what is more a funny joke. Well done, Oprah. You have been of some us for once. you have brought sunshine into a lefty’s life.

  • MikeF

    Would a shop selling handbags for £22,000 also stock items so cheap that a ‘racist’ shop assistant might assume that even a poor black person could afford them? I somehow doubt it. I would also assume that whatever clothing and jewellery Ms Winfrey was wearing at the time would be an indication that she was, shall we say, not short of a bob or two. If you are attuned to seeing ‘racism’ everywhere then that is what you will see. I got shouted at by an assistant in a petrol station the other day because I started filling my car up – I didn’t notice the little sign on the pump saying that it was not self-service. How many garages aren’t these days? I wonder if I could have sued them for making the ‘racist’ assumption that I was obviously intending to tank up and drive off without paying if I were black.

  • aron lipshitz

    Britain’s answer to Oprah Winfrey–Dianne Abbot also put her inability to flag down a taxi to racism rather than the carrying capacity of a London taxi.

    • Hexhamgeezer

      Bleedin’ diamond mate….

  • David

    Typical American; no class, no style

    • george

      What about all the untypical Americans? Me, for instance. It’s true that my class is merely metaphorical — if you go back in my family to the 16th century you find an ape with opposable thumbs and shocking body hair — but I like to think I am more than a champagne ape living on a Yank’s beer budget.

      Never mind ‘Hug a Hoodie’, how about ‘Hug an American’? Or cross baby matchsticks? (See avatar.)

  • MikeF

    As so often Oscar Wilde quite uncannily has the right words: “A handbag…”

    • John Standley

      Err…did you miss my link below?

      • MikeF

        I obviously did. But remember what the painter Whistler said to Wilde after Wilde had admired one of Whistler’s aphorisms and indicated that he wished had uttered it: “You will, Oscar, you will.”

        • John Standley

          Classic – after downloading that short clip, I watched the whole “The Importance..” for the first time in many years.

  • Roy

    Oprah Winfrey leaves her own trail of racist destruction in her own country, showing what her real inner self consists of. See; http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/08/17/glenn-beck-to-oprah-you-disgust-me/

  • Brian

    Hmmm…forgot to mention the nasty ass, stealth farting…SO…Fugly, Fatass-fart smelling Oprah goes into a shop looking for a $40,000 (dollars) handbag and is dismissed as somehow unworthy of the bag SHE desired.

    So sad that such a woman of so much wealth, yet so little “depth”, who spent decades using a bully pulpit to compel other women to do as she says “Lose weight” not as she DOES “roller coaster weight issues, unhealthy, extreme diets”, can’t get some skinny little girl to show her a bag that was likely “inappropriate” for someone of her “stature” (i.e. short, fat, and fucking ugly).

    Yet NOW we see that she’s no better than Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson in that she’s automatically attributed her treatment as “racist”, instead of it being what it is, yet another snobbish clerk thinking she was JUST short, fat, and fugly.

    At least WE are not afflicted with her daily afternoon sobfest.

  • Kennybhoy

    Puts me in mind of this rather amusing short…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXkvnl35xoY

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Must have taken a while to find that photo, Spectator. “Find a photo of Oprah looking really terrible.”
    You ask to handle/examine a seriously over-priced “brand” handbag at the shopping mall here in Japan; no problem assuming you can get into character as an English gentleman. Try the same thing in London and you`d hardly get through the door. There was no, “Is it because I is Black?” component here. Brand store staff quickly decide whether you`re an affluent punter with big bucks to spend by checking the shoes. If you`re not wearing expensive brand shoes you get shown the door as quickly as decently possible.

    • Scott Sandrock

      Not that hard. Just google “Oprah.”

      • Karla’s Man

        A famous person does not a wealthy person make.

        • Scott Sandrock

          Thanks, Yoda.

    • Brian

      Sorry, the bitch is ugly…she looks like E.T. with a tan when she’s on her down weight cycle…hasn’t been there in a while. At least we don’t have to see her bullshit crying every afternoon anymore.

    • Karla’s Man

      Except “English gentlemen”, even the “camp” ones, don’t buy handbags, you idiot! You are one strange foreigner from Japan, aren’t you?

  • Marie1797

    If Oprah Winfrey wants equality for millions of starving black African
    people, accusing Swiss shop assistants of racism when out shopping for
    expensive vanity products is not the way to go.

  • jack2211

    It’s troubling because the movie she’s plugging touches on real, devastating discrimination — and America is still rife with it today (look at the public rushing to defend George Zimmerman)… and Oprah, when asked for an example of discrimination she’s faced, comes up with a girl in a Swiss shop also showing her a $10,000 bag when she’s asked to see a $30,000 (or whatever it was) bag. And then the story became: Switzerland is racist.

    Oprah can’t be this out of touch, can she? I understand that she doesn’t personally face racism in America anymore (she’s Oprah for Pete’s sake, people fawn all over her) and hasn’t for years. So why not say: “Look, I’m Oprah, I live a life of wealth and privilege… but millions of black people in America don’t and they face racism every day.”

    • george

      What a load of cow-pat, from start to finish.

      Let’s begin with the scandalous trial. The evidence is overwhelmingly in Zimmerman’s favour. And a witness for the prosecution has since admitted that she did not tell the truth in court about what she saw (why *she* isn’t being prosecuted for perjury is anyone’s guess).

      As for the risible ‘discrimination’ claim: You might not like Zimmerman, but I live in this country (as perhaps you do too), and it is frankly dishonest to claim that ‘America is still rife with it today’. That is a lie. The people and laws and governments of America bend over backwards to give non-whites not only equality, but *more* than equality — a leg-up, at great national expense. It’s not Selma, Alabama in 1965 any more, Jack, even though you clearly wish it were. Clearly you share Jesse Jackson’s and Al Sharpton’s delusion that it still is. Sharpton, that godly man of virtue who would never lie, deceive, coerce, extort, commit injustice or incite to murderous hatred…. Oh, wait a minute….

      http://www.nationalreview.com/article/353850/al-sharpton-posh-populist-jonah-goldberg

    • Kanon25

      Oprah shared her story to make the point that this racism and prejudice happens to even rich people, so one imagine how bad it is for the ordinary black person. Can you not manage to grasp that – or just looking to distract us from the point.

      As for Switzerland, this is a country that banned minarets in our time and before that had no problem being the storehouse for the assets stolen from jews murdered by Germans in the 1930’s and 1940. Presumably they didn’t question the source as long as the depositor was not black.

      The good news of course on the racism front in Switzerland is that these days they gladly welcome money from any and all Middle Eastern and African dictators. Presumably those are welcome as long as they don’t ask to have a visible place of worship like the rest of society. A kind of second class first class citizen, if you will.

    • Chris Hagen

      Defending George Zimmerman has nothing to do with racism, and everything to do with knowing while some drugged up young punk is on top of you trying to punch your lights out, and you have means to defend yourself, you are able to do so.

  • Marie1797

    If Oprah Winfrey wants equality for millions of starving black African
    people, accusing Swiss shop assistants of racism when out shopping
    for expensive vanity products is not the way to go.

  • Terence Hale

    Hi,
    The sad story of Oprah, the handbag and the shop assistant. Mrs. Winfrey was
    in Zurich for the marriage of Tina Turner with Erwin Bach. From her hotel
    just got out of bed went shopping and things happened. From the perspective
    of the shop assistant a colored lady untidily dressed comes in to the shop
    and asks to look at a bag that costs 35,000 SFr. What would you do?

    • Karla’s Man

      “Since this is Switzerland, do you, Madam, have your diplomatic passport or diplomatic identity cards with you, and do you also have letters of introduction from the Ministry, your embassy and your Swiss bank?”

      Perhaps the real truth is, she is actually not THAT rich, and that, as a “good” American, most of her personal wealth has long in fact been eaten away by the credit cards.

      • Terence Hale

        Hi,
        I don’t live on the dark side of the moon, but to be honest I didn’t
        know who she was until this story came out. I think it’s a case of
        affectation because one didn’t recognize her which offended her.

        • Karla’s Man

          Don’t be so facetious! You are from the States! Seriously, who in Switzerland is expected to know that woman? For all they know, she could be some-one who lived inside Detroit or an Islander from the United States Virgin Islands!

      • Augustus

        If Oprah had smacked an Am Ex Centurion card on the counter the shop assistant wouldn’t have cared if she was green. (the card is black btw)

        • Karla’s Man

          @@disqus_NbfVcBBAF3:disqus

          American Express is not really accepted in a lot of places in Europe. The payment can still be refused, it costs a small fortune to process payments made by Amex and JCB, and American Express can always reverse the payment via “chargeback” if the cardholder refuses to pay up by the end of the month. The preferred payment is “chip-and-pin”, and a lot of Amex cards still don’t have chips on them.

  • Karla’s Man

    THE VAST MAJORITY OF US JUST DON’T EVEN KNOW HER NAME HERE IN “EUROPE”! For most of us, she is just an strange Johnny Foreigner with an un-Christian “chav” name. Geddit?

    Perhaps we can partly blame the restrictions on the broadcasting of American and even Canadian programmes on main British, Irish and European television channels for that.

    In some parts of the Continent of Europe (but not our own, I am ashame to say), not only would the unemployment benefits run out after two years, it is actually illegal, punishable with a fine, for a person not being an invalid to be unemployed and thereby not having the money to pay the compulsory social security contributions and public health insurance premiums; and anyway, anyone who is not a housewife, an unemployed bum, a pensioner or an invalid naturally does not have the time to watch domestic trashy day-time television, and never mind the foreign ones.

  • TCFKAC_commenterFKAcigee

    Rod’s sneery, juvenile schtick has become so tiresome. He sees himself as the scourge of political correctness everywhere. It’s hard to believe that a man with such troglodyte views on race is the man who gave Raphael Rowe a job.

    That’s to your credit, Rod. In this case, kindly STFU if you were not in the store and privy to the incident. We know racism when we see and experience it.

    She answered a question honestly. Her subsequent remarks are part of a dance black people like myself recognize. When a supposedly honest conversation about race is hijacked by people who have never walked in your shoes and don’t like what you have to say.

    I’ve had it up to my tits with right and centre right people who understand racism only in the abstract, telling us that our experience is not what we think it is.

    • george

      Hey, you’re not ‘Fabian Solutions’ on the Telegraph, are you? Though to be honest, FabSol wouldn’t curse I don’t think (you share the avatar face, all the same).

      • pedestrianblogger

        I am reporting you to the moderators for hate-speech. TCFKKK (or whatever his name is) is black (or claims to be) and therefore is qualified to talk about racism while you and Rod are white and therefore racists who should STFU about racism (and any other subject). Racism is the greatest evil the world has ever known and can only be experienced by black people (at least, those black people who are not “right or centre right”) and any damn’ whitey or creepy-ass cracker who disagrees is a RACIST who should STFU. I think I have made myself clear. Racist.

  • Shoe On Head

    far too research effort covering dumb journalese.

    • Baron

      It must be the shoe that’s to blame.

  • King Xavier

    Really funny how all these comments come from people who never experienced racism in their life. The fact is, the shopkeeper thought Oprah could not afford the handbag because she was Black, she, herself, may not have a personal problem with black people, but the act was RACIST, it was stereotyping, if you took a white woman and sent her in the store dressed the same way Oprah was, the shopkeeper would have handed her that handbag whether she thought she could afford it or not, because she would have trusted that the woman would have handed the bag back to her without a problem, it was clearly an act of RACISM!

    • Augustus

      “it was clearly an act of RACISM!”

      “I think that incident in Switzerland was just an incident in Switzerland. 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,”
      -Oprah Winfrey, at the Los Angeles premiere of ‘The Butler.’

      Sadly for her, and others of her ilk, racism has now just become a word that means ‘I’m a pathetic little cry baby’.

    • Nick

      OOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO it wasn’t!!

    • george

      That’s really good. You’ve got the part, but I’d still like to know (as the director) whether you’d be willing to wear belly-dance glitter for the Turkey Gets Wild Istanbul scene. A little different, but if you do it on celluloid, the next year it will be all the rage!

    • Baron

      Is there a hidden joke in this, King? Oprah snatching the bag, shedding a good couple of stones of access weight instantly, outrunning the store detectives? Hmmm

      Here’s a better one about running. A couple of guys on a camping tour in deep Africa hear a roar of an approaching lion. Hurriedly, one of the guys puts on his sneakers. The other one says: ‘What, you think you can outrun the lion? ‘No’, says the other one, ‘but I can outrun you’?.

  • Chris Hagen

    Hilarious. There’s no proof of racism here. Oprah does various fake voices and accents depending on who she’s speaking to, but it strikes me her general mode of speaking is folksy. Perhaps this lady gets a lot of looky-loo Americans in her store, who look much like Oprah, and perhaps she treats them all the same way, by trying to encourage them to get a bargain? Perhaps she gets more sales by not offering the most expensive thing in the store to scare people off? People like Oprah, Jamie Foxx, Al Sharpton see racism in everything. Much as feminist types see sexism in everything. Normal people see the normal logical decision making processes that human beings need to make on a daily basis to get through their careers and lives.

    • King Xavier

      Even if so, the professional thing to do would be to hand her the bag and then give her the option of a more inexpensive one, not to simply ignore her request to be handed the bag, that is simply an insult and not good business, how do you, as a shopkeeper, decide who can afford something and who can’t, rich people come in all shape sizes and colors, and dress differently, it was a stereotype, and it was racist!

      • Mrinsight

        Bullshit. First of all, a store owner can decide with whom they wish to conduct business. Period! Secondly, it is well known that Oprah is an uppity nigger bitch who gets her kicks by flaunting her wealth whenever and wherever she can.

  • Nick

    Professional victims come in all shapes,sizes and colours.
    And this is for the black posters on this site who say that white people are not on the receiving end of racism……….I used to live in London so I must have been discriminated against by black and Asian people.As a matter of fact,they were always at it.

    • King Xavier

      Nick, I’m glad to say, you could never experience the type of racism a black person experiences in America, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, to drive your car and have a police car follow you and run your plate and look for any reason to pull you over even though you did nothing wrong, to walk in a store and the staff watches you thinking you’re gonna steal something, to be successful and people assume you sell drugs, play sports or you are an Entertainer, and I can go on and on, but the fact is, this woman should have simply handed her the handbag, if she were a white woman, dressed the same way, she would have, it was racist, and to deny a potential customer their request is not professional and insulting at the least!

      • george

        Oh for god’s sake. Have you ever tried being a non-socialist in a teaching job? Or the publishing industry? As blacks you are the Belle of the Ball, and you were ever since the late 20th century. Give it a rest.

      • Baron

        King, do you ever explain anything that isn’t going the way you want it to go by anything but racism? Can you not accept that people of any skin colour can behave appallingly when dealing with others of the same skin colour?

        and this

        Baron’s been to the Republic alot of times, mostly to the north-east, Fla, CA, he never got the impression black people were treated any differently from the whites. Not once did he witness or has been involved in an event even remotely racist. Only once, years ago, walking in Miami, a black man going towards him switched sidewalks when he spotted him. It still puzzles why. Just one blow, and Baron would have kissed life good-by.

      • Nick

        Hello King Xavier.I’ve news for you mate and it’s all bad.The UK police do all that to white people as well.
        King I’ve heard it said a lot by American people that UK racism towards UK black people is not as bad as it is in the USA.I don’t agree with that and reckon it’s a fallacy.
        Racism over here in the UK is awful at times and just as vicious as any where that I have seen in the world.
        Some of the worst racism that I experienced in London was between Afro Caribbeans and Indians and Pakistanis…….they bloody well hate each other……more than they hate the whites I reckon.
        With regards to the police though,accusations against them of racism are often completely made up and false but over here,there is an anti police industry in place with the sole intention of obtaining compensation from the police.
        Most cops over here are brilliant,hard working and honest people but the fashion in the UK is to ‘have a go at the police’or ‘stitch them up’ ……It’s one of the great failings of our society.
        With regards to the handbag incident,if you decide it’s a racist incident then it will be a racist incident but we all know it’s something of nothing being exploited by a celebrity……who in my opinion is playing the racism and professional victim card.

      • Hexhamgeezer

        Try being a white guy with a job in the East End. White guy in suit = fascist.

        Try being a football fan who gets searched scores of time over the years for merely wanting to watch a game.

        You blacks just don’t know how well off you are.

      • Mrinsight

        FYI cops do that to EVERYBODY these days. I am as white as the day is long and I can that kind of shit from pigs too! One of the few things I share with the coloureds is their dislike for the pigs.

  • Rotem

    From everything I’ve read in this article, it was the shop attendant’s fault.
    Oprah asked for an item. It was the role of the shop attendant to comply.
    Don’t know what Oprah did after that: she should have maybe insisted and maybe the shop assistant would have then complied and if not – Oprah could have complained to the management. But Oprah is right, in principle, on that one.

    • Baron

      You are missing the big point of the debate, Rotem, it isn’t whether Oprah’s right or not, it is whether the behaviour of the shop assistant, either as you see it, or as others interpret it, was racist.

      • Rotem

        If you ask me – it doesn’t matter how you call it. My philosophy is: it doesn’t matter WHY someone does the wrong thing (racism or not), but WHETHER someone does the wrong thing. The answer is (without fully knowing the facts): probably yes. Oprah may not have had to make a big deal out of this incident, but neither should we.

  • Ian

    What if 5 minutes earlier the shop assistant had sold a white woman one of the half price bags but had then proceeded to sell Oprah the overpriced, expensive bag. Pretty sure there would be cries of racism too, you know, giving the good deals to white women while trying to rip off black women. This will never end until everybody refrains from seeking victim status at the slightest of offence.

    • jazzy jeff

      Lets not speculate and dream about what would happen in this or that scenario. You fail realise the obvious please go read the whole story again.
      Someone came into the shop and they wanted to look at that bag, give them the god damn bag to look at, don’t comment on if they can afford it or not, you don’t know how wealthy they are. All the assistant had to judge upon was that she was black so therefore she cannot afford it.

  • Shareena Fulton

    When I worked in a phone shop, people would often come in and want to buy the most popular and expensive phone at that time, simply because it was popular and expensive. I would often point out to them other phones with more features or of a better quality and reliability that often turned out to be cheaper too.

    It’s not a “you can’t afford this; piss off!” situation. Why watch someone being ripped off? I know I wouldn’t want to be, no matter how much money I made.

  • Junior

    Wow!!! Just reading some of the comments on here makes me realize that there are a lot of “white” folks who are still in denial that racism exists and that white supremacy is very present in the minds of most Europeans. I can’t help but laugh at the fact that Oprah remains rich despite of all the hate…keep it up, she is raking in even more with all this publicity.

  • Latisha Nichols

    Listen, people. Oprah is a natural born shizzle stirrer. She loves to make up sh^t. We don’t have a day go by over here that something racist has either happened to her or her BFF (Obummer) who’s an even bigger liar than she is….

  • alanbstardmp

    someone should bring this bitch Winfrey into line. I get sick & tired of these baseless racist allegations. She should be before the courts

  • jess

    Bottom line is that Oprah asked to see the bag, and wasn’t showned the bag!!! Simple!!
    She asked and didn’t get it!!
    She didn’t ask to see other handbags and other versions of other bags, if she wants to see a bag, then Show her the god dam bag!!

    The sales assistant assumed the price tag was beyond
    Oprah’s reach. She was wrong in assuming here!
    If you don’t want to be an idiot at work, stop assuming.
    Assuming is what gets you in shit half the time!!
    And as if Oprah would make up lies!!! Oh please!!
    Hopefully the sales girl will learn to treat everyone like theyre celebrities and just
    Give customers what they ask for. Simple.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      shown

  • dragonslayer

    Oprah is self serving B……Anything for publicity…..i feel sorry for the shopkeeper i am guessing she went thru he’ll over it.
    GROW UP OPRAH

  • Jacqueline Cuffee

    Esau is the Devil.

  • jazzy jeff

    You cannot compare similarities of racism to the size of a person, a pathetic attempt for this Heidi Moore to rationalise a lame defence for the shop assistant, racism is still strong today but evolved on a covert form.

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