Oprah Winfrey revealed this week that a Swiss saleswoman made prejudicial assumptions based on the color of her skin, refusing to sell her an expensive handbag.
Friday night on All In with Chris Hayes: Oprah Winfrey is one of the world’s richest women, so why did a Zurich boutique refuse to sell her an expensive handbag? Winfrey told Entertainment Tonight the Swiss saleswoman made prejudicial assumptions based on the color of her skin. According to Winfrey, she was told that she would “not be able to afford” the $38,000 crocodile leather Tom Ford bag she asked to look at. After asking two more times to view the bag, Winfrey gave up and left the store, preferring to give her business to a more tolerant salesperson elsewhere. “[Racism] still exists, of course it does,” she said. Obviously, the Swiss are not aware of The Oprah Winfrey Show.
After Winfrey recounted the incident this week, Swiss officials were highly apologetic, saying the saleswoman’s behavior was “terribly wrong” and calling the situation a “misunderstanding.” Racism is not uncommon in Switzerland, where the nationalist, anti-immigrant Swiss People’s Party holds the largest number of seats in parliament. Some Swiss towns are even working to ban people seeking asylum in the country from public places like swimming pools and libraries.
Melissa Harris-Perry, Tulane University professor and host of MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, will join guest host Ezra Klein to talk about Oprah Winfrey’s experience with racism in light of the broader conversation about race happening in this country since the Trayvon Martin verdict.
Plus: NBC Political Analyst and former Obama Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, Newsweek and The Daily Beast Special Correspondent Michael Tomasky, The Guardian National Security Editor Spencer Ackerman, and Chicago Sun-Times Bureau Chief Lynn Sweet will join the table to talk about the president’s wide-ranging press conference Friday afternoon.
Also, Andrea Peterson of The Washington Post, Julian Sanchez, Fellow at The Cato Institute, and Elizabeth Goitein, Co-Director of the Liberty & National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, will join a discussion about the news that encrypted e-mail providers reportedly used by Edward Snowden voluntarily shut down rather than face government investigation.