After Oprah Winfrey told Entertainment Tonight that she had experienced what she felt was a case of racial discrimination during a shopping trip, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh appeared skeptical that an African-American woman of wealth and fame could still be discriminated against and wondered whether the real reason for the poor treatment was “because 'The Oprah's' fat.”
During a trip to Switzerland in late July, Winfrey was shopping at an upscale boutique where a store clerk reportedly told Winfrey that she could not afford a purse that Winfrey had asked to see. Winfrey, whom the clerk apparently did not recognize, has an estimated net worth of $2.8 billion according to CNN. The Swiss Office of Tourism has since apologized to Winfrey for the incident.
Limbaugh, who refers to Winfrey as “The Oprah,” responded to Winfrey's claim with skepticism, saying, “Obviously [the store owner] who thought [Oprah] was a black person, couldn't afford anything, and she wanted you out of the store.” Later, Rush asserted that “we don't know that the sales person based her judgment on The Oprah's skin color,” before asking, “Maybe it's because The Oprah's fat? Well that's another -- how was The Oprah dressed? I mean she didn't look like The Oprah obviously. Was she wearing jump suit with tennis shoes? Maybe Air Jordans that weren't laced up?”
LIMBAUGH: Apparently last night on Entertainment tonight, figures, Nancy O'Dell interviewed media mogul The Oprah and during a discussion about whether The Oprah still experiences racism - what is she the highest paid woman on tv in the world - so naturally they'd do a discussion on whether Oprah still experiences racism. I mean it makes total sense doesn't it? She's got her own TV network, she's got her own magazine, she's one of the richest people in the world, probably the richest media person in the world on the talent side of things
LIMBAUGH: Well obviously [the store owner] is a racist scum, who thought [Oprah], as a black person, couldn't afford anything, and she wanted you out of the store. That's what we're all to conclude. Why not mention the brand name? Who was it? Gucci? Louis Vuitton? Is that how you pronounce it? Vuitton? Who was it? Tell us who it was.
LIMBAUGH: Now I look at this a whole different way. If I were Oprah I would be so thankful I could go some place and not been recognized. I'd be happy about it.
LIMBAUGH: We do not know [if] the salesperson based her judgment on The Oprah's skin color. The salesperson obviously thought that The Oprah couldn't afford the what is it -- $38,100 bag. Maybe it's because The Oprah's fat. Well, that's an -- how was The Oprah dressed? I mean, she didn't look like The Oprah, obviously. Was she wearing [a] jumpsuit with tennis shoes, maybe Air Jordans that were not laced up? I mean, who knows?
Limbaugh has a history of making racially inflammatory remarks.