As Jay Z is preparing to release his Christmas Collection at Barneys, a new Change.org petition is calling for the hip hop mogul to disassociate himself with high-end department store.
According to reports, the store’s New York branch is at the center of two separate lawsuits. In both cases, Black shoppers claim they were racially profiled and mistakenly as thieves. The first suit is by 19-year-old Trayon Christian, who was arrested and questioned by NYPD after purchasing a $350 Salvatore Ferragamo belt. The second lawsuit comes from 21-year-old Kayla Phillips, who claims she was also stopped by police after purchasing a $2,500 Céline bag.
“We can no longer tolerate blatant prejudice and discrimination,” the petition reads. “It is clear that the minority buying power is devalued by some. We must withdraw support to those who will not support us.”
It continues: “I’ve been a lifelong Jay Z fan. Jay Z is currently in partnership with Barneys New York for the release of his holiday collection — called “A New York Holiday” (or BNY SCC). Barneys lacks any connection with the black and hip-hop community. And without his vast wealth and brand power, they would see him the same as they see Trayon Christian. Jay Z should be appalled by Barneys actions, and withdraw all support from them. If he does this, he will send a clear message to all corporations that are likeminded, that this behavior cannot be tolerated any longer.”
In addition to the boycott, the starter of the petition is selling “Barney’s New Slaves” T-shirts. The site says all proceeds will go to the Boys and Girls Club of America.
Jay Z has yet to comment on the controversy, however Barneys has released a statement claiming their employees were not “involved in the pursuit of any action with the individual other than the sale.”
Barneys New York believes that no customer should have the unacceptable experience described in recent media reports, and we offer our sincere regret and deepest apologies.
Further to our statement of yesterday, we want to reinforce that Barneys New York has zero tolerance for any form of discrimination. We are a strong proponent of equal rights and equal treatment for all human beings. Our mission is to ensure that all customers receive the highest-quality service—without exception.
To this end, we are conducting a thorough review of our practices and procedures as they relate to these matters to ensure that they reflect our continued commitment to fairness and equality. To lead this review, we have retained a civil rights expert, Michael Yaki, who also serves on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The Commission has been the nation’s watchdog for civil rights for more than 50 years. Mr. Yaki will be provided with unrestricted access to all aspects of our store operations.
In addition, Barneys New York has reached out to community leaders to begin a dialogue on this important issue.
CEO of Barneys New York
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