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updated 6/23/2005 4:39:28 PM ET 2005-06-23T20:39:28

The luxury store Hermes has apologized to Oprah Winfrey for turning her away from one of its Paris boutiques last week, saying it was closed for a public relations event when she came knocking.

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The talk-show host and “an entourage” unsuccessfully tried to enter an Hermes boutique on Paris’ 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,” Gayle King, a friend of Winfrey who witnessed the incident, told syndicated TV show “Entertainment Tonight.” “Oprah describes it herself as ‘one of the most humiliating moments of her life.”’

King said it’s unlikely that Winfrey will shop there again. “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.

The store’s normal closing time is 6:30 p.m., although 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 statement from Hermes 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.”

A spokeswoman for Winfrey’s Chicago-based Harpo Productions told The Associated Press Thursday the talk-show host plans to discuss her “Crash” moment when “The Oprah Winfrey Show” returns to the air in September.

“Crash” is a film dealing with race relations.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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