Remember that time luxury retail giant, Barneys was under fire for several back to back cases of “shopping while Black,” where several Black customers complained of being treated unfairly or with unwarranted force after shopping and or/leaving NYC’s Madison Avenue Barneys location? This sad pattern of racial profiling began last year when the high-end store tried to crack down on a dramatic spike in shoplifting and credit card fraud, by simply taking a harder and more hands-on look at their minority customers.
It seems Barneys is doing all they can to remedy this bad press. They are going to give up $525,000 (for fines & legal fees) to settle the racial-profiling allegations against them and they’ve also hired an “anti-profiling consultant” for the next two years. This is a part of Barneys 27-page settlement document set to “correct a number of wrongs,” State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said, “both by fixing past policies and by monitoring the actions of Barneys and its employees to make sure that past mistakes are not repeated.” It’s also being reported that Barneys will be updating its policy on detention and working on training methods for its security and sales employees.
Complaints accused Barneys of targeting Black and Hispanic customers and complainants also alleged that in-store detectives regularly followed minority customers even after sales associates identified them as frequent patrons of the store. Store data from October 2012 to October 2014 seemingly backed up these allegations, showing that the aforementioned groups were held “at rates far greater than their percentage of the store’s customer base,” according to the Daily News.
“During the entirety of our 90-year history, Barneys New York has prided itself on providing an unparalleled customer experience to every person that comes into contact with our brand,” Marke Lee, CEO of the retailer, said in a statement following the agreement. “We [have] absolutely no tolerance for discrimination of any kind.”
Sure Mr. Lee, is that why 19-year-old Trayon Christian was followed by NYPD plainclothes copes outside of Barneys and was accused of fraud after he purchased a $349 Ferragamo belt. Or how about when 21-year-old Kayla Phillips was surrounded by four plainclothes cops who accused her of credit card fraud after she spent $2,500 on a Celine bag.
Do you think Barneys agreement will help them remedy their racist reputation? Sound off in the comments below.
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