Oprah Winfrey and the Swiss Handbag. Here’s Why We Don’t Want #Oprah2020
The world has gone crazy. After the Golden Globes aired, which highlighted the issues women face in Hollywood and the film industry, as well as acknowledging the ongoing Harvey Weinstein scandal, Oprah Winfrey gave a ‘moving’ and ‘powerful’ speech on why America needs to change.
It all sounds great, and her words had impact. It was also very good that Oprah used her platform to acknowledge the men that are helping the #MeToo movement. For that, we agree with her.
But calls for #Oprah2020, which trended on Twitter after the speech, are just ridiculous.
We’ve got a man in power who is not all that different from Winfrey. Whilst Oprah is not a racist, has not been recorded admitting sexual assault, and has not demanded Mexicans pay for a wall and demanded that immigrants leave a country that thrives on immigration, she simply has no political experience whatsoever. Just like Trump.
If another celebrity ended up in power, we’re in a dangerous place. Generations will grow up believing celebrities can do anything. They’ll believe celebrities can run a country, negotiating with countries all over the world, without any political education whatsoever. Those that have studied and have worked hard to make a change will no longer get a foot in, because who can simply compete with a celebrity?
But whilst that’s the main issue, let’s remember something very important. It’s the time Oprah Winfrey manufactured a racism story to help promote her new film.
Winfrey was starring in ‘The Butler’ – executively produces by Harvey Weinstein by the way – when she said in a television interview that she experienced racial abuse when wanting to see a handbag at a Swiss store.
Like Trump, her ego was bruised when the sales assistant at the Swiss store did not know who Oprah was. Oprah herself even said her show didn’t air over in that country.
Talking to Entertainment Tonight, Winfrey said: I was in Zurich the other day, at a store whose name I will not mention. I didn’t have my eyelashes on, but I was in full Oprah Winfrey gear. I had a little Donna Karan skirt, and little sandals, but obviously the Oprah Winfrey show is not shown in Zurich. So this doesn’t happen to me, unless someone obviously doesn’t know it’s me.’
The purse Oprah requested to see cost $38,000. Something she could afford.
‘I say to the woman: ‘Excuse me, may I see that bag right above your head?’ And she says to me: ‘No. It’s too expensive’. And I said: ‘No, you see the black one, the one that’s folded over’. And she said: ‘No, no, no, you don’t want to see that one, you want to see this one, because that one will cost too much, you will not be able to afford that one.’”
‘Now why would she do that?’ Oprah asks, unable to comprehend that not everybody knows her and not everybody watches her show.
Following the story, Oprah refused to name the store and also refused to name the sales assistant. Maybe as a way to protect that woman. After all, Oprah is a powerful woman. Or maybe because it was all a constructed story that was enhanced with a racial tone, so Oprah could fund her Harvey Weinstein executively producer film, The Butler.
The sales assistant was eventually found, and branded Oprah a liar. She said: ‘I didn’t hurt anyone. I don’t know why someone as great as her must cannibalize me on TV. … If it had all taken place as she claimed, why has she not complained the next day at the wedding of Tina Turner with Trudie Goetz, my boss? She was there also at the Turner wedding as a guest. I don’t understand it. … I spoke to Oprah Winfrey in English. My English is OK but not excellent, unfortunately. … I didn’t know who she was when she came into the store. That wouldn’t have made any difference if I had.’
Oprah did not apologise. She did not say it was a misunderstanding. She simply said she was ‘sorry’ the incident got blown up – yet she goes on TV to bring awareness to that ‘incident’? Please.
And for those hailing Winfrey for her presidential talk on how women need to be protected in Hollywood, please look away from these images.
There were people, like me, who see right through who Oprah is and what she stands for. Whilst there’s no proof she knew, we have to wonder how a woman so powerful, with so many connections, could be so close to a man and not speak out on what she undoubtedly saw.