Oprah, Hermes Make Peace Over Snub

Oprah Winfrey makes an award presentation during the 76th annual Academy Awards, Los Angeles, 2-29-04 AP

Oprah Winfrey didn't waste any time in the new season of her syndicated TV show to revisit her summer feud with luxury store Hermes.

Halfway through Monday's premiere of "The Oprah Winfrey Show," the talk-show host addressed the incident in June when she was turned away from Hermes' Paris boutique. Winfrey was denied entry after arriving at the posh store 15 minutes after closing time — even though others continued shopping inside.

"I just want to say shame on anybody for thinking that I was upset for not being able to get into a clothes store and buy a purse," said Winfrey. "Please, please."

"Everybody who's ever been snubbed because you were not chic enough or the right class or the right color or whatever — I don't know what it was — you know that that is very humiliating and that is exactly what happened to me."

"I would like to say we're really sorry," said Robert Chavez, the chief executive officer of Hermes USA, who was a guest on Winfrey's show. "You did meet up with one very, very rigid staff person."

"Rigid or rude?" Winfrey challenged.

"Rigid and rude, I'm sure," Chavez replied.

Winfrey said she wasn't playing "the celebrity card" and that she knew "the difference between the store being closed and the store being closed to me."

Nevertheless, Winfrey complimented Hermes on its handling of the incident (including "sensitivity training" for employees), and urged viewers to again buy Hermes products.

  • Joel Roberts

Comments