Winfrey, one of the world’s richest women, was apparently told the bags on display were “too expensive” for her. Her claims, made to a US television programme, come amid a political row over plans by some Swiss towns to ban asylum-seekers from some public places.
The BBC’s Imogen Foulkes in Berne says human rights groups have likened the plans – which include banning asylum-seekers from swimming pools, playing fields and libraries – to apartheid. Winfrey, who stars in Lee Daniels’ new film The Butler, visited Zurich last month to attend singer Tina Turner’s wedding. The Oprah Winfrey Show is not shown in Switzerland.
Winfrey said she left the shop calmly without arguing, but that the experience was proof that racism continues to be a problem.
“There’s two different ways to handle it,” she said.
“I could’ve had the whole blow-up thing… but it still exists, of course it does.”