Barneys Employees Allege Black Customers Were Routinely Followed Around Its Stores

Image via Flickr/ B. Williams

At Barneys, racial profiling is allegedly not uncommon, as former employees of the luxury store told The Huffington Post.

According to what a former employee of Barney’s told Huffington Post, it was a common practice for Barneys employees to follow Black people around were weren’t famous. Not only were they followed, they were also made fun of because they “didn’t belong.”

The article appears not long after 19-year-old Trayon Christian was arrested at the Madison Avenue store although he had purchased a $349 Salvatore Ferragamo belt. Before he could exit the store, two police officers accused him of using a fake debit card to purchase the belt. From there, he was taken to police headquarters, where he was detained shortly before he was cleared.

Not long after Christian was detained, 21-year-old Kayla Phillips came forward about her own incident. In February, she was attacked by four police officers after purchasing a $2,500 Celine bag with money from her tax return. She was questioned about how she could purchase such an expensive bag, and where she lived.

“If a black person comes in with a sweatshirt or sneakers, some of the white sales associates would be on the floor saying: ‘Why are they even here? They’re probably going to scam,'” an anonymous associate, who is also Black, told Huffington. She added, “They would say this stuff in front of me. Sometimes I would just walk away, and sometimes I would say, ‘You never know.'”

Of course, Barneys has denied any allegations of racism as part of its company culture, saying in a statement, “Barneys New York has zero tolerance for any form of discrimination and we stand by our long history in support of all human rights.” Barney’s also stated that its employees were not directly involved in any incident when New York State police officers chose to intervene.

Another Barneys associate, who requested anonymity because she could get fired for speaking to the press, said that security keeps a close eye on black people who are not famous that enter the store.