Skip to comments.Hermes president apologizes on-air to Oprah for snub
Posted on 09/20/2005 1:49:21 PM PDT by doesnt suffer fools gladly
Hermes president apologizes on-air to Oprah for snub
The tabloid war between Oprah Winfrey and French luxury retailer Hermes International ended in a decisive victory for the US talk show diva Monday when the company's president of US operations apologized on-air.
Winfrey, who was recently named the most powerful celebrity in the US by Forbes magazine and is considered a cultural icon with an immeasurable influence over her millions of viewers, instigated a boycott after she was turned away from a Hermes store in Paris in June.
Tabloids were abuzz with the snub and Oprah's conviction that she was turned away because she was black.
A public apology by Hermes several days later merely fueled the flames because it implied she had tried bully her way into a store that had already closed.
"The store was in the process of being closed -- the store was very active," Oprah told her viewers on the opening show of her 20th season.
"The doors were not locked. My friends and I were standing inside the doorway, and there was much discussion among the staff about whether or not to let me in. That's what was embarrassing. I know the difference between a store being closed and a store being closed to me."
Winfrey, who rose from modest means to build a global media empire that spans books, magazines and movies, often brings her personal life into her broadcasts and had threatened in June to discuss the incident when her show resumed. On Monday, she tried to explain to her viewers why she made such a fuss.
"Shame on anybody for thinking that I was upset for not being able to get in to a closed store and buy a purse. Please. I didn't get to be this old to be that stupid," she said.
"Everybody's who has ever been snubbed because you were not chic enough or thin enough or the right class or the right color or whatever -- I don't know what it was -- you know that it is very humiliating."
However, Oprah lifted the boycott after Robert Chavez, the president and CEO of Hermes USA, told her Hermes has since introduced sensitivity training.
"I'd like to say to you that we're really sorry for all of those unfortunate circumstances that you encountered when you tried to visit our store in Paris," Chavez said.
"We really try to service all of our clients all over the world," he said. "It was an isolated incident. It is not who we are."
Winfrey, who earned 225 million dollars last year (186 million euros) has some 30 million US viewers for her chat show which is rebroadcast in more than 100 countries.
When Cpt. Hermes apologizes for france's (and the french peoples) merely existing, then and only then should any American give a rat's ass about what he, or any "kermit based" species has to say, and to whom he has to say it.
And btw, I couldn't care less about Mizz Oprah's hurt feelings either.
Wow, things must have changed in NYC since I lived there in 1995. I used to go into those expensive stores all the time to browse, no one ever had to let me in. Heck, sometimes I was filthy from a day of working.. lol but hey.. I could take my girlfriend into Tiffany's and dream a bit. lol
I don't think they discriminated against her per se. I think Oprah probably got the tres snob treatment from some high-end Parisian shopgirls, and decided to whine publicly about it. A better plan would have been for her to find a way to inflict Dr. Phil on the French.
Oprah only does good things for the community if it brings her praise and glory.... she's shameless in self-promotion... even the $10 million dollars she is giving to the survivors of Katrina was done only so that she would receive the hysterical standing ovation that happened (right on cue) when she announced it on Monday's show.
"Oprah lifted the boycott"
I wondered why the Hermes store was the only one bypassed by the N.O. looters. Now that the boycott is lifted there is still a chance with Rita passing through.
She seemed very annoyed when the Hermes president said that the salesperson didn't recognize her. Never mind that Oprah was wearing blue sweats and had no makeup on -- in short, she looked like a typical American tourist. Of course, Oprah couldn't simply chalk up her experience to the French being the French -- she had to blame it on racism.
Question....Was the store opened or closed? The original post says it was opened, you are saying it was closed.
I heard it was closed or closing.
You and I would have been turned away - why should Oprah expect something different - she's just rich.
I think Oprah's stretching on this one.
In a nutshell, he said this was not a black thing, it was a "the store was closing and they wouldn't let her in and she got pissed off because she'e Oprah, damn it and they should bow to her" diva thing. She just tried to make it into something it wasn't because she was embarrassed that they did not treat her with appropriate awe of her celebrity greatness.
Doprah gets her jollies by humbling the massas on her show. And millions of women all across America eat it up. Nice.
This lady was single handedly bringing down a company because one employee was rude to her. She should be apologizing to Hermes.
"This lady was single handedly bringing down a company because one employee was rude to her. She should be apologizing to Hermes."
She is no lady to me. Furthermore by ruining a company she's jeapordizing livelihoods, all for a cheap ego power trip.
What is up with liberals? They are always wanting an apology.
Big deal...the french surrender to everyone.
(It irks the heck out of me when people apologize for things they shouldn't apologize for.)
It's a French company...
First they insult her.
Then they apologize and in their apology insult her again.
Then they surrender.
Now they will have sensitivity training. THAT will make sure that I never step foot in one of their stores.
After the incident at Hermes, she went to an outdoor cafe for dinner.
The waiter said "NO SOUP FOR YOU!".
Oprah needs a tune-up.
How true. They recently showed pictures of her when she first started in "the business". For some reason she had a much darker complexion 20 years ago than she does today. She really doesn't look like she bleached her skin like Michael Jackson; but, if it is only due to make up it is several shades lighter now. Being an old white woman, I can tell you that I have never changed the shade of my makeup that drastically and I don't know any white people who have. But, Oprah certainly isn't the only black woman who has gotten many shades lighter over the years.
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