Barneys CEO Mark Lee apologized to Jay Z today (October 29), saying that that the recent allegations of racial profiling leveled against Barneys have taken away from the work of Jay Z’s foundation. Lee also said today that no one at the retailer had racially profiled the customers in question, according to nypost.com.
“We deeply regret that these recent events have distracted from the great work of the Sean Carter Foundation, and we offer our sincere apologies to Mr. Carter,” Lee said, as per nypost.com. “Our collaboration together is based on the shared mission of helping individuals facing socio-economic hardships.”
In September, Jay Z revealed a partnership with Barneys titled “A New York Holiday,” which will consist of limited edition pieces by high-end fashion brands and interactive window displays for the holiday season.
Last week, the New York Daily News reported two separate incidents in which Barneys committed discrimination against two African American customers. Trayon Christian, 19, and Kayla Phillips, 21, were questioned by New York Police Department officials as suspects of credit card fraud.
“No one, and I mean no individual, should go through the unacceptable experiences described by Trayon Christian and Kayla Phillips,” Lee said today. “We offer our deepest sympathies to both of them.”
After the New York Daily News report last week, Brooklyn resident Derick Bowers launched a petition requesting Jay Z to end his partnership with Barneys New York. Bowers said he wants Jay Z to cut ties with Barneys because the retailer’s actions show that “they have no connection with the young, black Hip Hop community.”
In an interview with allhiphop.com, Bowers said, “I’m not personally attacking Jay Z. This attack is really at Barneys. What I’m asking from him is to withdraw that partnership to let them know we have that power, and you can’t take that from us.”
On Saturday (October 26), Jay Z released a statement saying that he is waiting on facts before deciding how to address his business deal with Barneys, as per Jay Z’s lifeandtimes.com website.
Lee made his statements today after an hour-long meeting with the Rev. Al Sharpton at the Harlem, New York headquarters of Sharpton’s National Action Network.
“I’m prepared to stand with the Rev. Sharpton and the leaders to effect real change and bring other retailers into the fold,” Lee said, as per nypost.com. “Moving forward there is a broader issue that needs to be addressed and Barneys New York is committed to be part of the solution.”