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Barneys Bias leading to 'shop-and-frisk'

10/31/2013, 11:36 a.m.
Shop and frisk

“Barneys New York is committed to be part of the solution,” Lee said. “We appreciate that we were given the opportunity to discuss this important subject with Rev. Sharpton and the other leaders here today. We look forward to collaborating with them and the broader retail community about positive change that we can bring.”

Lee also addressed the recent controversy surrounding Barneys’ partnership with Shawn “Jay Z” Carter, who is launching a collection at the luxury store in November. Proceeds from sales will benefit the Shawn Carter Foundation charity. Carter had been criticized for keeping the partnership, which he plans to continue, after allegations of racial profiling at Barneys surfaced.

In an interview with the AmNews, Macy’s Vice President of Public Affairs Ed Goldberg said that news reports are incorrect in accusing the retailer of participating in racial profiling. He said no Macy’s employees were involved in the two current cases that accuse the store of discrimination.

In 2005, Macy’s agreed to pay the state $600,000 as part of a settlement that the company engaged in racial profiling. The store also engaged in handcuffing detainees, which was found to be unlawful. An investigation by then state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer found that a large number of those detained were Black and Latino.

“Macy’s is America’s department store,” Goldberg said. “We value every customer, and we have zero tolerance for discrimination, and we don’t support stop-and-frisk. We work very hard in training our employees to treat our customers with respect.”

Goldberg added that NYPD officers do come to the store to patrol, but they are not obligated to inform management when they come, even if they are operating undercover.

He also pointed out that Macy’s has several initiatives and partnerships in communities of color, including initiatives regarding education and children’s issues. For years, Macy’s has closely worked with the New York Urban League and the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health.