Barneys New York Hires Civil Rights Pro Amid Discrimination Claims

Posted: Updated:
Barneys Madison Ave Real state. Trayon Christian, 19, an engineering student, says he bought a $349 Ferragamo belt at Barneys and was promptly collared by undercover cops, who asked, 'How could you afford a belt like this? Where did you get this money from? The teenager is shopping for justice, claiming snooty Barneys staffers and New York City cops racially profiled him for credit card fraud after he bought a $349 belt. Christian told the Daily News he filed a lawsuit after he was targeted by | Getty

Oct 25 (Reuters) - Barneys New York hired an anti-discrimination expert and agreed to have its chief executive meet with a civil rights group following allegations that the luxury store racially profiled black customers, a spokeswoman said on Friday.

Reverend Al Sharpton's National Action Network demanded the sitdown with CEO Mark Lee, scheduled for early next week, after two black customers said they were stopped by police and questioned about expensive purchases they made at the Manhattan store.

"I felt helpless, confused, demeaned, humiliated and embarrassed," Kayla Phillips, 21, a nursing student from Brooklyn, told reporters at a press conference on Friday.

Phillips said she was surrounded by four undercover officers outside the subway in February after purchasing a $2,500 Celine handbag. She has filed notice she plans to sue the New York City Police Department and she intends to sue Barneys too, her lawyer said.

In a lawsuit against both the NYPD and Barneys, Trayon Christian, 19, a technical college student from Queens, said he was handcuffed and detained by police for two hours in April after buying a $349 Ferragamo belt.

Barneys posted an apology on its Facebook page late on Thursday and said it was taking steps to address the allegations, including hiring civil rights attorney Michael Yaki of San Francisco, a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, to review the store's practices and procedures.

"Barneys New York believes that no customer should have the unacceptable experience described in recent media reports, and we offer our most sincere regret and deepest apologies," Lee said on Facebook.

Sharpton's advocacy group is holding a rally in New York on Saturday to address several issues, including allegations of racial profiling at Barneys, Sharpton said on Twitter. (Reporting by Luke Swiderski; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Gunna Dickson)

Related on HuffPost:

Racist Moments: 2013 Edition
Share this
Current Slide

Suggest a correction

Around the Web

Black customers claim discrimination by Barneys New York, police ...

2. Barneys New York hires civil rights pro amid discrimination claims

Barneys Apologizes After Black Customers ... - NBC New York

Barneys New York hires civil rights pro amid discrimination claims ...

Barneys denies racism as civil rights group seeks meeting with ...

Another black Barneys shopper accused of credit card fraud after ...

Discrimination Suit At Barneys New York Is Quickly Becoming Jay ...

Black customers claim discrimination by Barneys New York ... - Inagist

Barneys New York Hires Civil Rights Pro Amid Discrimination Claims

Civil rights group seeks meeting with Barneys CEO - USA Today

Barneys New York hires civil rights pro amid discrimination claims

Young shopper accuses Barneys New York, NYPD of racial profiling

Actor claims racial discrimination while shopping at Macy's

Barneys Faces Racial Discrimination Lawsuits From Two Black Shoppers

Barneys NY Pledges Policy Review After Race Claims

Updated: Queens Teen Slaps Barneys With Discrimination Suit

Petition Urges Jay Z To End Partnership With Barney's Following Discrimination ...

Black College Student Arrested For Buying A Designer Belt, Barneys & NYPD ...

Attorney: Student Racially Profiled By Barneys, NYPD After Buying $300 Belt

Petition Launched, 'New Slaves' T-Shirt Created In Response To Barneys ...