Barneys New York has hired a civil rights attorney for assistance following recent allegations that the store profiles their African-American customers.
In an effort to address the allegations of racial profiling, Barneys has turned to Civil Rights attorney and member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Michael Yaki.
On Tuesday, 19-year-old Trayvon Christian filed a lawsuit against Barneys and the New York Police Department after being apprehended by undercover officers who detained the teenager until they could verify Christians $350 purchase–despite the fact he had his receipt. This, however, was not an isolated incident.
Kayla Phillips, 21, of Brooklyn, came forward on Wednesday claiming she too had a similar experience upon leaving Barneys after making a $2500 purchase on a Celine bag. Christian and Phillips are adamant that both Barneys and the NYPD racially profiled them. But Barneys denies having any involvement in either case and insists that their company does not practice racial profiling.
On Thursday, Barneys posted an apology on its Facebook page saying, “Barneys New York believes that no customer should have the unacceptable experience described in recent media reports, and we offer our most sincere regret and deepest apologies.”
Since Christian and Phillips have come forward, a petition was created to encourage rapper/entrepreneur Jay-Z to sever his creative partnership with Barneys.
“We’ve gone from stop-and-frisk to shop-and-frisk,” said Reverend Al Sharpton at a weekly gathering at the National Action Network headquarters this Saturday.
Reverend Sharpton has put Barneys CEO Mark Lee to task by inviting him to a sit-down to address the allegations. The two are scheduled to meet sometime next week.