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Oprah apologizes about Switzerland incident that was "blown up"

Last week, Oprah Winfrey received an apology from the Swiss tourism officials. This came after there was an alleged racist encounter in a Zurich shop, where Winfrey was wanting to look at a purse.

Oprah apologizes that the Switzerland incident was "blown up"
Mike Windle/Getty Images

Oprah is now giving her own thoughts about what happened during this shopping trip, by speaking to reporters Monday at the Los Angeles premiere of her new film The Butler. During an interview, she apologized for specifically naming Switzerland when she spoke out about incident.

"I think that incident in Switzerland was just an incident in Switzerland," says the 59-year-old media mogul, per the BBC interview. "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."

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.

Winfrey also explained 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 did go on Twitter to pacify the situation.

"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 on Twitter.

She then sums up her trip by saying, "Other than the handbag diss. I had a GREAT time in Zurich," she added. "Best spa ever @doldergran. Would love to experience again."