Luxury Store Apologizes To Oprah

The French retailer Hermes is apologizing to Oprah Winfrey for what it calls a "misunderstanding" when it did not open the door to her at one of its Paris boutiques. The luxury chain says that when Winfrey came knocking, the store was closed for a public relations event.

The talk show host and "an entourage" unsuccessfully tried to enter a Hermes boutique on the posh Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore at 6:45 p.m. on June 14, Hermes said in a statement.

"People were in the store and they were shopping. Oprah was at the door and she was not allowed into the store," said Gayle King, a friend of Winfrey who witnessed the incident, in a comment to the TV program Entertainment Tonight. "Oprah describes it herself as 'one of the most humiliating moments of her life."'

"She's really OK. Her position is, 'I will shop where people appreciate my business, and I don't believe that any longer includes Hermes,"' King said.

Normal closing time is 6:30 p.m., though high-end shops are known to make exceptions for celebrities. On that particular night, however, "a private public relations event was being prepared inside," the Hermes statement said.

"Hermes regrets not having been able to welcome Madame Oprah Winfrey and the people accompanying her to give them all the attention and service that Hermes is committed to giving each of its clients in the world," said the statement released Tuesday.

"Hermes expresses its sincere regrets for any misunderstanding that these circumstances could have caused."