Jay Z is proving that greed really does rule the world in his latest joint venture with notorious racial profiling chain Barney’s New York. In Jay Z’s statement regarding the racial profiling case involving Trayon Christian a young black male who was targeted and detained because a black person shouldn’t be able to afford to shop at Barney’s, Jay Z stated he would wait for the ‘facts’ to be released and not jump to any conclusions. We now know that Jay not only had no interest in facts but also had no intentions of ever dropping his partnership with Barney’s.
According to a lawsuit filed by Turkish immigrant Ayla Gursoy, Macy’s security guards had an arrest quota of five per week and had a “race code system” to “facilitate its targeting of Middle Eastern, African-American/black and other nonwhite shoppers.”
We now know why Hova didn’t do the right thing and stand on principles and morals by immediately putting the deal on hold…he has none.
In the past week, the following have come forward with racial discrimination allegations, making front page headlines in New York’s tabloid press, sparking online outrage and now resulting in an AG investigation:
– Trayon Christian, a 19-year-old Queens college student, is suing Barneys and the NYPD after being cuffed by plainclothes detectives at the luxury Fifth Avenue designer outpost, where he’d tried to buy a $350 Salvatore Ferragamo belt. His lawsuit, filed last Tuesday, claims a Barneys clerk called the cops on him in April, concerned that the young man’s purchase was fraudulent. Christian was able to produce ID at the precinct, and no charges were filed. Barneys disputes that any of their employees were involved, releasing a statement affirming the store’s “zero tolerance for any form of discrimination.”
– Kayla Phillips, a 21-year-old Brooklyn nursing student, came forward the day after Christian’s case made the news. She claims she was swarmed by four plainclothes cops in February after buying a $2,500 orange suede Céline purse at Barneys. Shetold the New York Daily News that she was surrounded and manhandled at a nearby subway station after spending her tax return on the luxe bag. She was never charged with a crime and intends to sue both the NYPD and Barneys. The day after her revelations hit the press, the store’s CEO Mark Lee offered his “sincere regret and deepest apologies” for the alleged incidents and announced Barneys’ retention of civil rights expert Michael Yaki, a San Francisco attorney, to lead a review of its policies.
– Actor Rob Brown of HBO’s Treme told the New York Daily News on Friday that he’d been a victim of racial discrimination at Macy’s in New York’s Herald Square back in June. He claims he was handcuffed and detained while trying on a pair of Prada shoes, having just bought a $1,350 Movado watch for his mother. He was released without charges after showing multiple forms of ID. At the time, the 29-year-old star of Sean Connery hit Finding Forrestertweeted: “Don’t be black while shopping at #Macy’s Police might roll on u.” Brown was moved to file suit after reading about Trayon Christian’s case. Macy’s told the Daily News they were “investigating the alleged claims, as we were just made aware of this lawsuit. We do not comment on matters in litigation.”
– Art Palmer, a 56-year-old Brooklyn fitness trainer, claims he was stopped by police after leaving Macy’s, having bought $320 worth of dress shirts and ties on his American Express and Macy’s platinum cards. He told the Daily Newsthat the cops pursued him on his way to a nearby gym, telling him he’d disappeared from view on the store’s surveillance cameras. He produced receipts and no charges were made. Palmer has filed a grievance with the Civilian Complaint Review Board. The NYPD Internal Affairs bureau is looking into the case, a spokesperson told the Daily News.
In letters sent to Barneys CEO Mark Lee and Macy’s chief stores officer Peter Sachse on Monday night, the AG’s head of civil rights Kristen Clarke described these alleged incidents as “troubling”, giving the two until Wednesday to schedule a sit-down with Schneiderman’s team and Friday to turn over a list of every shopper stopped and detained in the past twelve months, broken down by race. Both retailers will also have to provide details on their internal policies for contacting police with concerns about shoppers.
On Tuesday, Barneys’ CEO Lee sat down with Rev. Sharpton at his National Action Network in Harlem alongside representatives from the NAACP and other community activists in an attempt to reconcile and hash out a plan to stop “shop and frisk” at the high-end store.
As well as negative press, Lee has had to deal with pressure on one of Barneys’ big-name collaborators: Jay-Z. The hip-hop mogul has in recent days faced calls to end an upcoming holiday partnership with Barneys, including a petition signed by more than 22,000 as of Tuesday afternoon. So far, he’s sticking with the retailer, noting in a statement on his website that proceeds from the collection will benefit The Shawn Carter Foundation.
“I am against discrimination of any kind, but if I make snap judgements, no matter who it’s towards, aren’t I committing the same sin as someone who profiles?” wrote the rapper. “I am no stranger to being profiled and I truly empathize with anyone that has been put in that position. Hopefully this brings forth a dialogue to effect real change.”