Sharpton threatens to boycott luxury retailer Barneys over racial profiling of shoppers
NEW YORK — The Rev. Al Sharpton threatened on Saturday to boycott luxury retailer Barneys if the store does not respond adequately to allegations by black shoppers that they were racially profiled.
“We've gone from stop-and-frisk to shop-and-frisk, and we are not going to take it,” the black civil rights leader said. “We are not going to live in a town where our money is considered suspect and everyone else's money is respected.”
Two black customers of Barneys in New York, Trayon Christian and Kayla Phillips, said last week that they were detained by police after making expensive purchases.
Christian sued Barneys, saying he was accused of fraud for using his debit card to buy a $349 Ferragamo belt in April.
Barneys said on Thursday that it had retained a civil rights expert to help review its procedures.
The CEO of Barneys, Mark Lee, offered his “sincere regret and deepest apologies.”
Kirsten John Foy, an official with Sharpton's National Action Network, said he would meet with Barneys officials on Tuesday to discuss the racial profiling allegations.
“The only theft that took place at Barneys was Barneys' stealing the dignity of these young people,” said Foy, who joined Sharpton at his weekly rally at the organization's Harlem headquarters.
Sharpton said black New Yorkers should put shopping at Barneys “on hold” if the retailer's response is inadequate.
The profiling claims also incited criticism on Twitter and an online petition asking rapper Jay-Z, who is collaborating with the luxury retailer for a holiday collection, to disassociate from it.