Remember When Oprah Was Told She Couldn't Afford a Purse in 2013?

In a new clip from her Apple TV+ show The Oprah Conversation, Oprah Winfrey made waves for her discussion regarding white privilege with one of her guests, and the conversation brings to mind a 2013 incident where Oprah was discriminated against, trying to buy a handbag in Zurich.

In the clip, Winfrey responds to her guest who suggests not grouping all white people together, to define white privilege. "There are white people who are not as powerful as the system of white people—the caste system that's been put in place. But they still, no matter where they are on the rung or ladder of success, they still have their whiteness," she said. "You still have your whiteness. That's what the term 'white privilege' is. It means that whiteness still gives you an advantage, no matter."

In 2013, Winfrey detailed her own experience with racism in the Swiss store for an interview with Entertainment Tonight. The famed talk show host said that she was in Zurich to attend Tina Turner's wedding, when she went to do some shopping on her own. She said that when she asked to see a bag the woman responded, "No, it's too expensive." Winfrey said that she tried to explain to the woman which bag she wanted to see, but the woman was adamant. "No no no. You don't want to see that one. You want to see that. You want to see this one, because that one will cost too much, and you will not be able to afford that one," she said.

Winfrey said that while the woman tried to show her other bags, she tried to ask the woman one more time to see the bag she wanted, to which the woman said, "I don't want to hurt your feelings." Winfrey said she proceeded to leave the store afterward.

Winfrey suggested that the woman didn't recognize her, probably because her beloved talk show did not air in Switzerland. "I was in full Oprah Winfrey gear... Obviously, The Oprah Winfrey Show is not shown in Zurich. So obviously, this doesn't happen to me, unless someone doesn't know that it's me," she said early in the interview.

While Winfrey asked, "Why did she do that?" she didn't explicitly describe the incident as racist. Even though Winfrey didn't name the shop, the store was eventually discovered, and apologized. The shop's manager also told CNN that it was a misunderstanding, rather than discriminatory. "Mrs. Oprah got the impression she didn't want to sell the bag to her because she wanted to show her other bags. This had nothing whatsoever to do with racism," the manager told CNN in 2013. "Who wouldn't want to sell a bag like that? Everyone would. My saleswoman just wanted to do her best. She feels very bad because she feels the way it's being represented is very unfair."

Newsweek left a message with Winfrey's agents' office but did not receive a response in time for publication.

oprah winfrey
Oprah speaks onstage during 'Oprah's 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus Tour' presented by WW (Weight Watchers Reimagined) at The Forum on February 29, 2020 in Inglewood, California. Winfrey's recent comments about white privilege recall a run-in she had in Europe in 2013. Getty/Emma McIntyre