ET FIRST: Oprah on Being a Recent Victim of Racism

By RAPHAEL CHESTANG

August 05, 2013

ET's Nancy O'Dell sat down with Oprah Winfrey on Monday, getting the media mogul to open up about Lee Daniels' The Butler, a possible sit down with Paula Deen and her own personal experiences with discrimination.

While Winfrey may be one of the most recognizable faces on the planet, she apparently doesn't have as big a fan base in Switzerland. Winfrey tells O'Dell that while in Zurich for Tina Turner's wedding she left the hotel to go shopping by herself and was denied service when the clerk assumed that Winfrey wouldn't be able to afford the bag she was asking to see.

RELATED: Oprah Says The Butler Shows Where America Has to Go

Winfrey ultimately left the store without making a fuss, deciding it was better to leave empty-handed than give the employee commission.

When asked if she has ever been called the N-word, Winfrey explained that, for her, sexism seems to be the bigger issue.

"The sexism thing is huge," said Winfrey. "The higher the ladder you climb it gets huge, because men are used to running things."

RELATED: Oprah Gets Apology for Racist Shopping Encounter

Winfrey also gave her take on the Paula Deen controversy, saying, "I think Paula Deen was sort of used as a symbol, but I think lots of people use the word inappropriately all the time," said Oprah, who doesn't pal around with people that use the word in her presence.

While Winfrey admitted that she would like to sit down with Paula Deen after her N-word scandal, it may take a while for the event to happen. Before talking to Deen on-camera, Winfrey wants to ensure the avoidance of a "defensive conversation," saying that as time passes Deen becomes more likely to have an honest, candid conversation without feeling attacked.

"I just really want to know what happened," said Winfrey.

Tune in to ET tonight for more.



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