— Irin Carmon, Stephanie D. Smith and Amy Wicks
TOMMY'S 'OPRAH' DEBUT: Tommy Hilfiger appeared on the "Oprah Winfrey Show" for the first time Wednesday to dispel a 10-year-old rumor, which has resurfaced, that the designer doesn't want to sell his clothes to African-Americans, Jews and Hispanics. The myth claims Hilfiger made these defamatory remarks on Oprah Winfrey's show back in 1997, and Winfrey kicked him off the set. However, it was immediately proven that Hilfiger never made those remarks, nor had he ever met Winfrey or appeared on her show. Both parties have spent years dispelling the rumor that took on a life of its own.
"That is the category of what I call a BFL, a big fat lie. [It] never happened," said Winfrey during Wednesday's broadcast. "I called him [Hilfiger] personally when the rumors started up again, and said, 'Let's dispel this rumor once and for all.'"
Hilfiger said he enlisted the help of outside experts to try to trace the source of the rumor. As for the impact on his life, he said, "It hurt my integrity because at the end of the day, that's all you have....Forget the money it has cost me. It cost me heartache," said Hilfiger.
On Wednesday night, Hilfiger received an individual achievement award from the Hispanic Federation at an awards gala, and in September, the designer and his former business partner, Joel Horowitz, will be among the co-chairs at a benefit concert at Radio City Music Hall for the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington.