In 2005, Oprah Winfrey accused luxury store Hermes in Paris of turning her away when she stopped in to purchase an expensive watch for singer Tina Turner. A spokesperson for the TV personality later referred to the incident as her “crash moment.”
“Crash” was a 2004 film that centered around the damaging effects of racism. The phrase “crash moment” refers to “situations where a party feels discriminated against on the basis of skin color,” CNN reported in 2005.
The claim is extremely similar to Oprah’s recent claim of discrimination she supposedly experienced at a high-end boutique in Zurich, Switzerland. In that case, she says a sales assistant refused to show her a $38,000 handbag because it was too expensive for her. The sales assistant and the store manager have both strongly denied the allegations.
As it turned out, Oprah and her team arrived at Hermes at around 6:45 p.m. on June 14, 2005, which was about 15 minutes after the store had closed and was setting up a private PR event. A store spokesperson said a security guard informed the star that the store was closed. Oprah was given a card and told to come back the next day.
Surveillance footage of the exchange backed up the store’s account. Oprah apparently wanted the store to allow her to make a quick purchase, but was denied.
The New York Post, citing various sources close to Oprah, reported she was turned away because the store had been “having a problem with North Africans lately.”
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