This time, Oprah Winfrey is not only being accused of fabricating her recent story about being mistreated at a Swiss fashion store due to her race by the clerk in question, but there are some who are actively suggesting that the whole thing is merely an effort to raise publicity for the movie.
Sigh. Let's take it from the top.
During promos for "Butler" (we can call it that, right?) earlier this month, Winfrey brought up a racial-driven victimizing incident which occurred in Switzerland while she was in town for Tina Turner's wedding. She explained to ET Online that she while shopping in a store in Zurich, a clerk refused to let her look at a bag because it was thought to be too pricey for the TV queen.
"She refused to get it, and she started to show me these other little bags," Oprah recalled. "I said, 'but I really do just want to see that one,' and she said 'Oh, I don't want to hurt your feelings,' and I said, 'Okay, thank you so much. You're probably right, I can't afford it,' and I walked out of the store."
Totally a "Pretty Woman"-esque faux pas (as our friends at Crushable so adeptly meme'd). So, she was understandably offended but took leave of the place — without spending any of her vast mounds of cheddar there, of course — in peace.
High profile as Oprah Winfrey is, though, the story got international media attention, and while O hadn't spilled the name of the store or clerk in question, the shop's owner (along with the Swiss tourism office) came out with an apology for her.
... But that's hardly the end of it.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actual store clerk involved in the exchange now claims that Winfrey has falsified certain portions of the story.
"I don’t know why she is making these accusations. She is so powerful, and I am just a shop girl," the woman now insists. "This is not true. This is absurd. I would never say something like that to a customer. Really, never. Good manners and politeness are the Alpha and the Omega in this business. It is absolutely not true that I declined to show her the bag on racist grounds. I even asked her if she wanted to look at the bag."
What's more is that now there are reportedly some political types who perceive the entire discussion as a promotional stunt in and of itself. "Did the media even wonder for a moment how a potentially exaggerated, racially charged anecdote of this kind might help sell Oprah's upcoming film?" one such writer boldly suggested on the typically conservative Breitbart.com.
As if THE Oprah Winfrey would ever falsify such a serious matter on account of promoting a movie. Just ... as IF.
"Lee Daniels' The Butler" hits theaters on Aug. 16.